Grant allows enhancement of Crisp emergency communications
By Neil B. McGahee
Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Christopher Nunn made a stop in Cordele Wednesday to announce the awarding of a $347,454 grant from the DCA to Crisp County that will allow enhancements of the emergency communications system.
“These funds are designated to help these first responders in your community,” Nunn said. I spent about 20 years as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and we learned how quickly something like a tornado can cripple a community. Fortunately, you already have infrastructure in place — towers on both sides of the county — so this check for 347 thousand and change will go a long way to enhance the resources you already have.”
“I am so glad to be here with you and actually deliver these community resources,” Congressman Sanford Bishop said. “This $350,000 is right on time and will be used for infrastructure mitigation. Now the sheriff and all other first responders can communicate with each other.
Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock explained how the system will help first responders.
“One of the things we realized years ago was our communications were short,” he said. “We put up a single site tower and when you got on the fringes of that tower, you couldn’t call for help.
“When things go bad out there on the road, you don’t have time to say ‘Crisp One to central. I need help,’”
When the department went to 800-megahertz communication, Hancock said the system wasn’t compatible to communicate with other agencies.
“If you came from Atlanta or Valdosta, you couldn’t talk to a Crisp County deputy,” Hancock said. “This county had the foresight to enhance that system and move the tower to the lake. Then another tower out on 280 East was purchased from the FAA and that allowed us to use ATTACK, a series of channels that every agency in the country has. Now if we have another tornado or any type of disaster, we will be able to communicate with agencies coming to help us out.”
Crisp County Administrator Clark Harrell noted that the money came from state taxes.
“This is a lot of money,” he said. “And this is federal tax money. So that means local taxpayers won’t have to come up with this money out of the general fund. We have seen our share of disasters here and it will certainly help fill in the gap.”