FARMINGTON — Police Chief Jack Peck and Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox told Franklin County commissioners Thursday they are concerned for the safety of officers, firefighters, emergency responders and the public because of problems with  radio transmissions.

Among the concerns: Responders not hearing dispatchers or part of transmissions, dispatchers not hearing responders or responders not hearing alerts sent by dispatchers.

The problems, they say, are related to the Zetron Max dispatch console system installed last spring at the Franklin County Regional Communications Center in Farmington.

Commissioners voted to buy the system in December 2016 for $166,516 from Zetron Inc. of Washington.

Peck, Wilcox and other members of the commissioner-appointed dispatch advisory board, which is made up of emergency responders, want the problems fixed before someone gets hurt.

Stan Wheeler, director of the communications center, said he and county consultant Rick Davol have been working with Zetron to resolve problems.

Members of the board wrote in a letter to Brent Dippie, president and chief executive officer of Zetron Inc., that the communication issues are jeopardizing the safety of their personnel.

“It is a safety concern for all of us,” Peck said.

Zetron has company representatives working with Wheeler and Davol to fix the problems. The company also sent a software update Wednesday that was installed.

Dippie said Thursday that he understood that audio issues have been resolved. Problems persist, however.

Wilcox said she could see dispatchers were trying to call her Thursday but she could not hear them. She used her cellphone to call them to get information on an accident.

Peck said one of his officers tried unsuccessfully to notify dispatchers when he went on duty Thursday morning.

Wheeler read to commissioners an email Dippie had sent to him Wednesday addressing the advisory board’s concerns. 

The company will reach out to the advisory board, Dippie wrote, “but I wanted to reach out to you directly to let you know that we take these issues seriously and the current situation is not acceptable to us.”

The most-important, outstanding issue had been the intermittent loss of audio, Dippie wrote. A software update has been provided that targets this issue. The company’s team will continue to monitor the audio to make sure the issue has been resolved.

A team from engineering, technical support and product management has been assigned to address other issues that have been reported, Dippie wrote.

A team from Zetron will be at the commissioners meeting Tuesday with Wheeler, Dippie said. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday at the county courthouse.

Commissioners Terry Brann of Wilton and Clyde Barker of Strong shared concerns about the situation and agreed something need be done.

Brann said Thursday morning that he wants answers from the company at Tuesday’s meeting.

He told Wheeler to do what needed, including having someone monitoring radio calls to make sure they are going through and they would bill the company for the cost.

“It sounds to me that we have been very lucky that nobody has been hurt,” Brann said.

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Franklin County Regional Communications Center Director Stan Wheeler, third from left, addresses county commissioners Thursday in Farmington. Listening are, from left, Farmington Deputy Fire Chief Clyde Ross, county Emergency Management Agency Director/Farmington Deputy Fire Chief Tim Hardy, Wheeler, and EMA Deputy Director Amanda Simoneau. Not pictured is Farmington Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)

Members of the Franklin County Dispatch Advisory Board listen to Franklin County Communications Center Director Stan Wheeler (not shown) discuss transmission problems Thursday at a county commissioners meeting in Farmington. From left are county communications consultant Rick Davol and his wife, Sharon Davol, both of Communication Consulting Services in Gray; board members Stan Wilcox and Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox, county Clerk Julie Magoon, board member and Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck and county Finance Director Vickie Braley. (Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal)


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