Glitches in New Digital Emergency Communication

In any emergency, seconds count. That is why fire fighters and police officers count on good communication. However, sometimes when they can't hear that they are being paged, it can prove to be a serious problem.

"We have had issues right in this building where pagers have not gone off or if they have gone off, the voice was so garbled we could not understand what was being said." Weston Fire Chief Steve Meilhen said.

The chief says that ever since Marathon County police and fire departments switched over to the new all-digital communication system in the fall, his and other departments have experienced glitches with the new system.

"I have seen reports of radio communications that haven't carried as far as they did in the old analog system. So, there are some inherent issues that we are aware of and we are working to correct those."

While the chief says that he is extremly grateful to the county for covering the costs of purchasing the new system, he admits that many of the issues need to be addressed.

Meanwhile, not all area departments are experiencing problems. Kronenwetter Police Department Lt. Terry McHugh says he has not had problems with the system "I would have to say it has been pretty decent for us."

While digital communication has had several issues, the new system is expected to benefit public safety in the future.