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Simpson County votes to replace emergency communications system in special joint meeting

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 7:36 PM CST
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FRANKLIN, Ky. (WBKO) - Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Protection Act, Simpson county will now be able to replace its emergency communications system.

On Tuesday, a special joint meeting between the Simpson County Fiscal Court and Franklin City commission led to the decision of approval for an emergency communications system

The new system is one that emergency crews had been looking into for the last seven years. Emergency Management says they made it a priority to discuss replacing it at every meeting.

Robert Palmer the director of Simpson County Emergency Management helped spearhead the efforts to replace the system and spoke on the hardships throughout the years.

“The fact that we knew that there were no funding capabilities. Every time I would mention it, in the meeting to the county judge or to the city manager or the mayor. In those meetings, there was some stress involved there because we could see it deteriorating, as the years ticked off,” said Palmer.

One of the biggest questions during the meeting was the durability of the equipment.

Simpson County Judge-Executive Mason Barnes spoke on looking more into the human aspect especially during crucial situations, “there were times that we had officers that were speaking and no one was responding, no one could hear them and no one could respond. And you never want any emergency responder, especially your law enforcement personnel in a situation where they’re in a pursuit, or in a situation where they’re needing to get information or communicate with someone and they have no way to communicate that.

“The good thing about this equipment is versus the current equipment that we have is the way that I understand, we will have the ability to update this equipment so that it functions better,” added Barnes.

Roger Solomon is the chief of the Franklin Police Department, he spoke on how the new equipment would be financed.

“The ARPA funding from the city in the county is what will ultimately pay for this project. So when you talk about that, there are no tax hikes, there are no taxpayer dollars that’s going into this. And what it reiterated out there today is that peace of mind that people simply can also take to is there’s extra funding still left over after this project,’ said Solomon.

Barnes spoke on the price of the new equipment, “approximately $2.9 million and I know that sounds like a ton of money. But as I also said in that meeting, what kind of price tag that we put on a human life? What kind of price tag do we place on our men and women that work in emergency services?”

Unanimously, city and county officials voted yes to replace the emergency communications system.

“What we presented in there today, it took a while a lot of great questions. But that just shows the veracity of the ability for them to make sound financial decisions as fiscal bodies. But in the end, you saw the unequivocal support that we got today because they understand where public safety stands in this community,” says Solomon.

Palmer added, “I’m thankful for the City Commission, and the fiscal court, having the trust in members of the committee to understand we’ve, we’ve researched this for many, many, many years. And, and knowing that they put us in a position to, to know what our needs are, and trusting us when we tell them what our needs are.”

Chief Solomon also noted that this new system will also benefit KSP, “the fact that they know that they can come in and have a foundational communication system that operates on a state level in Simpson county speaks volumes for what state police is also getting out of this.”

Completion may take from 13-18 months.

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