Police patrolmen use their hand-held radios every day. But in Clinton, transmission in some parts of the city hasn't been clear.
"We either are getting an out-of-range tone, or it's so garbled you can't pick up what dispatch is giving out to us," says Patrolman Keith Hollingshead. "Recently, it just seems to be getting worse. We're finding a lot more locations where we're not able to pick up the radio."
The businesses at Clinton Raymond Road and Highway 80 are less than a mile from the police station. Officers say they have trouble getting clear signals even from that location.
"If we're inside some of those buildings and we get radio traffic, we have to come outside to hear it," Hollingshead tells us.
There may be several factors contributing to the problem. But one issue can't be denied: the Hinds County radio tower off F.O.A. Road has been operating on secondary power since November 3.
Members of the Board of Supervisors discussed the issue at Monday's meeting, and the two men responsible, Nathan Hargrove of Northstar Wireless and Stacey Stowers of Airwave, said they believed the problem would be fixed later that day. But it wasn't.
3 On Your Side has learned the part needed to fix the problem has not yet arrived.
Supervisor Phil Fisher tells us Airwave and Northstar Wireless are subcontracting the work, and the county will have to pay that bill, even though Airwave holds a contract to do it. The contract pays Airwave more than $4 million over a six-year period.
Northstar Wireless is a contractor for Airwave. At Board of Supervisors meetings, Hargrove often speaks on behalf of both companies.
Clinton Police Chief Don Byington says he has been told there's no timeline on when the tower issue will be fixed.
"If the backup failed, it's my understanding that it would be shifted to another tower, another location. However, that tower is further away. We, primarily in the northern part of town, operate off the tower that's on F.O.A. Road," Chief Byington says.
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