Foley Police and Fire looking to increase radio tower capacity

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 1/6/20

FOLEY - Foley council recently approved a resolution to upgrade the Foley Radio Tower capacity, as requested by Police Chief David Wilson and Fire Chief Joey Darby. Both chiefs stated the need for …

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Foley Police and Fire looking to increase radio tower capacity

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FOLEY - Foley council recently approved a resolution to upgrade the Foley Radio Tower capacity, as requested by Police Chief David Wilson and Fire Chief Joey Darby. Both chiefs stated the need for expanding capacity as the city and surrounding areas grow.

“Our city has grown, our public safety has grown, this area’s busyness has grown and there’s times when it gets so busy, especially during an emergency when police and fire are up and running and another agency comes in to help or we patch over to them, it can overload our system,” Wilson said. “We can’t get out, and we’ve seen this a few times.”

Wilson pressed the need for added capacity to first responder towers to add more channels. After talks with Darby, they decided instead of asking for a large sum upfront they would proceed in smaller phases, adding more capacity each year for the next three to four years.

Darby went on to add that the more officers are added in both departments, the less capacity is available. A Public Safety Radio Committee was formed so the Police Department and Fire Department would be working on the same page, and the two departments are hoping to expand radio coverage area.

“We know that as the city and our departments have grown we’ve got some gaps in coverage area, and we’re working with other agencies to see if we can tackle that,” Darby said. He stated during emergency situations the departments were 100% radio operations-wise, while in non-emergency situations they used cellular phones much more frequently. “We still have a balance between radio and cellular and I credit the council’s support for doing that. I’ve talked to my counterparts across the state and they’ve been forced into an all or nothing type of situation where they’ve compromised communications, but council has enabled us to get the best of both worlds.”

Darby and Wilson worked together to bring what they felt was a cost-efficient solution to the council that would not compromise officer safety, and hope to continue increasing radio capacity in the future.