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Published: Wednesday, 5/10/2006

Wood County to eliminate sheriff's radio dead spots


BOWLING GREEN - For years, Wood County sheriff's deputies have encountered dead spots in the county where neither their two-way radios nor cell phones work.

Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn is pretty sure he's got a solution to that problem.

Yesterday, Wood County commissioners approved spending $78,619 to purchase and install new equipment intended to alleviate dead spots. A key part of the system, the sheriff said, is changing the location and increasing the height of radio antennas around the county.

"There are places in the county such as between West Millgrove and Fostoria where deputies have no radio communication, no cell phone communication, and to me that's extremely dangerous," the sheriff said. "It's been a problem, I've been told, forever. No one could come up with a solution."

He said clearing up the problem was one of his first priorities when he took office in January, 2005. The problem was a matter of safety for his deputies and for the public.

He said he invited local ham radio operators in to meet with him, and they helped pinpoint the problem and formulate a solution. Several of the county's antennas were only about 25 feet high, the sheriff said, and it was clear they needed to be elevated to be more effective.

Sheriff Wasylyshyn said in addition to the main antenna near the sheriff's office, he will have ones in Perrysburg Township, Grand Rapids, Bowling Green, Fostoria, and in southern Wood County near State Rt. 25 and Bays Road. Several will be atop water towers, which puts them more than 120 feet in the air.

"If I can get reliable radio communication for all deputies, I can't imagine anything more important I could accomplish as sheriff," he said.

County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said commissioners began talking with the sheriff about the problem last year and included the expenditure in this year's budget.

"They are very supportive of these efforts because there have been several places in the county where there are radio dead spots and that's not good when you may have someone's life on the line," he said. "This will eliminate all of that."

Contact Jennifer Feehan

at jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.

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