Airwave, Northstar fail to inform county of communication tower - - Jackson, MS

Airwave, Northstar fail to inform county of communication tower issue

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HINDS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The communication tower that services the Clinton Police Department has been operating on secondary, or auxiliary, power since November 3, and the full Board of Supervisors only found out about it Monday.

Hinds County EOC Director Mark Young found out on November 15.

"The console backup, the replacement unit is damaged, needs to be replaced," Young told the Board. "It could be a problem. It could be a major problem."

Supervisor Phil Fisher points out companies Airwave and Northstar Wireless are under a big-money contract to service the radio communication towers, and they should have informed Supervisors and EOC when the failure occurred.

"We spend $64,000 a month and $90,000 a quarter... It would seem to me, if they were having an issue with the tower they could at least give us a heads up."

Nathan Hargrove of Northstar Wireless says the problem is not that bad.

"This is a routine repair issue," Hargrove says, adding that the equipment they're dealing with is 13 years old, and finding replacement parts is difficult.

Hargrove said Monday morning that the problem should be fixed by the end of the workday. He also claims he did tell Board President Robert Graham about it. But that claim proved flimsy.

"First of all we informed the Board president. We informed the folks out in Clinton to keep them aware," Hargrove told the Board.

"Mr. President, were you informed, were you aware of this 13-14 days ago?" Supervisor Fisher asked Board President Robert Graham.

"No. I was informed this week," answered Graham.

"When I sent an email?" asked Fisher.

"Yes," answered Graham.

Supervisor Kenneth Stokes feels the companies get picked on too much.

"It may not be true, but it looks like a witch hunt," he said.

But Supervisor Peggy Hobson-Calhoun reminded everyone that if all communication systems failed during a crisis, the board would be in a heap of trouble.

"We are putting in place, as of this week, some policies and procedures so this won't happen again," said Young.

Hobson-Calhoun also pointed out that Airwave and Northstar are subcontracting some of the repair work to a company in Atlanta, Georgia. She asked Young if the Airwave and Northstar were fulfilling the terms of their contract.

"I'm hoping they are fulfilling their contract. Until I have seen a report, I cannot tell you yay or nay," Young replied.

Young has requested documentation of the company's daily work. Supervisor Fisher says he requested that information back in September, and has not yet received it. 

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