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Progress on fixing troubled Deschutes radio system


Work to fix the troubled Deschutes County radio dispatch system continues, and progress is being made. The flawed system has caused issues and safety concerns for law enforcement agencies since going operational last summer by garbling or dropping calls.

A temporary radio tower on Bend’s west side has been planned to alleviate the problems until a permanent tower can be installed. County commissioners were updated on the situation Monday.

Work on the temporary radio tower site on Overturf Butte is moving along. Equipment is being brought to the site and will start to be installed on Tuesday. The site is expected to be turned on for service in about two weeks. Then, engineers will take several weeks to test out the equipment.

“Additional coverage should improve, the portable radios in particular. We don’t want to continue any additional troubleshooting until we get this problem resolved and get this site on the air,” said Joe Blaschka, a principal engineer for ADCOMM Engineering Co.

Bend Police Chief Jim Porter said there was a big difference when a temporary site went in at St. Charles Bend. He said being able to communicate from within the building is a big deal.

“That’s our base for our trauma. That’s where we go, he said. “A lot of times, we get calls there, and officers need to be able to communicate within the building itself, and we’ve never had that. We now have that with this system.”

Porter said progress is being made, but it’s hard to say how much more needs to be done before the system works seamlessly.

“To know where we’re going to be is really hard for me to say, other than we have an expectation that when our police and fire call in, somebody will hear them. When they’re called, they’ll receive the call,” he said.

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