POMEROY — Just in time for Christmas, the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office received a gift which will help the office to better serve Meigs County.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety, lead by director John Born, presented Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood with nearly $250,000 in equipment on Thursday afternoon.
Born — along with Colonel Paul A. Pride, Superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and Brain Castner of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency — presented Wood with 35 portable radios, 30 Motorola remote radios and six dash mount radios.
The radios, totaling $244,968 in equipment, were purchased for the department through funds from the United States Department of Homeland Security.
The radios are compatible with the Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS).
MARCS helps first responders communicate clearly anytime from anywhere, increasing their capacity in normal and emergency operations and decreasing response times.
“We are pleased to be able to make this equipment available to the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office in support of their efforts to provide a safer community, and ultimately contribute to a safer Ohio” said John Born, ODPS Director. “MARCS improves the availability, accessibility and quality of communications for first responders in the state.”
Born also spoke of the importance of communication tools to first responders. He noted that the ceremony is not just about giving the radios, but about giving the opportunity to help save lives through better communication.
“Safety in the community is one of the most important things,” stated Sheriff Wood. He added that communication is vital and something that the department must have.
“I am excited and the community should be excited too,” said the Sheriff. He noted that the radios will allow for improved communication which will allow his office to better serve the residents of the area.
The MARCS radios were purchased with a U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security grant, which are made available to states and are designed to enhance the capacity of state and local jurisdictions to prevent and respond to incidents. The Ohio Emergency Management Agency, a division of ODPS, serves as the state administering agency for homeland security funds.
Born noted that the award to the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office was the largest single award to any agency in the state. A total of $1.4 million dollars was used statewide for awards such as this one.
MARCS is an 800 MHz radio and data network that utilizes state-of-the-art trunked technology to provide statewide interoperability. The MARCS Program Office is housed within the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.
Castner explained that the MARCS radios work much like cell phones and will switch to a tower within reach to allow service in areas outside of the original area.
Sheriff Wood stated that his office is currently looking into providers to install the new units in the cruisers.
The new radios will replace outdated ones which have been in use by the department. Many other agencies around the region are already utilizing the MARCS system.