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Sheriff says he will share his radio frequency pending signed agreement from fire, city police

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By Shannon Brock

A signed memorandum of understanding is the only thing separating the city police and local fire department from obtaining the Spencer County Sheriff’s Department’s new radio frequency, Sheriff Donald “Buddy” Stump said during a radio demonstration during Monday night’s Fiscal Court meeting.
Once the Taylorsville Police Department and the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Protection District have signed MOUs with the county, those agencies will be given the sheriff’s frequency improving communication between the agencies, Stump said.
Dean Vencill, of L&W Equipment, was on hand Monday night to provide a live demonstration of the county’s new NXDN radio system for the court members.
Vencill sat up several handheld radios on the table in front of the court, then stepped to the back of the room. He proceeded to have a conversation on the digital radios with Stump, who was at the front of the room.
Then, Vencill asked Karrer to pick up an analog radio and do a radio test. Because Vencill’s radio was operating in mixed mode, he could hear Karrer’s radio test, and because he responded within five seconds, he could reply back to Karrer and be heard on the analog radios.
Magistrate Hobert Judd referenced a situation where a city officer was parked at Boatworks on Ky. 44 and saw a sheriff’s deputy speed by, responding to a call at Settler’s Trace. The city officer couldn’t hear, or monitor, the sheriff’s channel, so he didn’t know what was going on.
Vencill explained that, at that point, if the city officer had the sheriff’s frequency, he could have keyed up to ask what was going on, and if the deputy responded within five seconds or switched his radio to analog the two could have corresponded.
Magistrate Jerry Davis asked Capt. Jason Karrer, of the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department, who was in attendance at the meeting, for his input.
Jason Karrer pointed out that communication between agencies is not quite that easy because the fire department does not have the sheriff’s frequency.
They do have the EMS frequency because it did not change — it is the same in analog and digital. However, the sheriff’s transmit and receive frequencies were too close together, so he applied for a new frequency pair, which has not been released to other agencies.
Stump said he would address that later in the meeting.
Referencing a wreck that happened early Monday morning, Jason Karrer explained a scenario of communicating with Spencer County EMS.
“If I would have keyed up, if they [EMS] would have heard me in five seconds, they could have talked back to me,” Jason Karrer said.
“No, I can talk back to you in five seconds, but if I don’t talk back to you in five seconds, I can go to the fire channel and say, ‘What do you need, Jay?’” EMS Director Jeff Coulter explained.
Jason Karrer also explained that the fire department can no longer monitor, or listen in, on the EMS channel as it did before when agencies responded to the same scene.
“There have been times that we make wrecks, and say the S.O. is already on scene, and EMS, and we get there behind the eight-ball and we may not even need to be responding anyway,” he said.
Coulter said he thinks most of the issues can be solved with a little training.
“All this seems like training issues and not radio issues,” Coulter said.
Then, using radios brought by Vencill, Coulter and Jason Karrer did a test of communications between the digital EMS channel and the analog EMS channel.
The issue still remains that the police and fire departments don’t have the sheriff’s frequency.
Davis asked Stump why that was the case.
“Because they haven’t signed a memorandum of understanding with my sheriff’s office to be on that, and for years we’ve operated not according to FCC regulations and we’re going to operate from now on according to FCC regulations,” Stump said, adding that copies of an MOU have been sent to Mayor Don Pay and Glen Goebel, chairman of the fire board.
“And when these MOUs are signed and got back to our department, they will be given the analog frequency of the sheriff’s agency,” Stump said. “If we hadn’t had to change frequencies, you would already have them.”
Davis questioned why he made the distinction between the analog and digital frequency and Stump said it was because those departments operate on analog radios and have not made the switch to digital.

**NOTE: We are attempting to upload videos of the radio demonstration, as well as part of the conversation that followed. The videos will be posted as soon as possible.**

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