By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory’s board approved its involvement in a memorandum of understanding for the county’s new emergency radios during an Oct. 4 meeting.
In the last year, various entities within Kosciusko County have been working to implement a new county-wide 700 MHz simulcast P-25 Phase 2 radio system, which includes three new tower sites.
The agreement brings together an understanding for the City of Warsaw and the territory’s board with the direction, guidance and plan set forth by the Kosciusko County Commissioners for the radio system’s usage.
Kosciusko County Emergency Management Director Ed Rock attended the meeting to answer board members’ questions.
“All we’re doing is filling in that gap so that everybody is on the same page,” said Rock. “The commissioners put into place a committee which is pretty wide-range…it’s all of the different jurisdictions, our representatives from different agencies. The guidance is we’re going to abide by what is going on with that committee and what they have recommended to the commissioners on how to operate the system.”
Rock said the main reason for the agreement is to protect the radio system, particularly by immediately addressing any issues within the first year of its use.
WWFT Attorney Andrew Grossnickle asked Rock about the authority to disable a unit when evidence of abuse or misuse of the system is discovered.
“How will the individual subdivisions be notified (of misuse)?” asked Grossnickle.
Rock said that aspect has not been fleshed out and told Grossnickle he would bring that point before the radio system’s committee.
WWFT’s board approved the MOU, which will be presented before the City’s Board of Public Works and Safety at its Oct. 7 meeting.
Also during the meeting, EMS Chief Chris Fancil requested permission from the board to apply for a grant through the Kosciusko County Community Foundation. The grant would help create one central list of resources for community members in need of urgent assistance to utilize.
An existing Community Assistance, Resources and Emergency Services QR code links to some non-profit organizations that are no longer active. Fancil said C.A.R.E.S. workers want to ensure those who need help get immediate assistance by creating a cleaner resource funnel consisting of only active organizations.
WWFT’s board gave Fancil approval to pursue the grant. Fancil will present this request before the Board of Works on Oct. 7.
Board Member Brandon Schmitt asked Fancil about C.A.R.E.S. calls for the month of August, noting more responses in District One compared to Districts Two and Three.
“We have people who are fighting chronic mental health issues and (C.A.R.E.S. Coordinator Mikaela Bixler) is doing a lot of visits with them to make sure they have what they need,” said Fancil. “Some of those are repeat callers. We have a couple folks we’re dealing with that are homeless and we usually meet them in the downtown area.”
The board’s next meeting is at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.