When I first became a Lucas County Commissioner, many of the lessons learned from Sept. 11, 2001, in terms of what local governments needed to do in order to better prepare, were recommendations waiting to be implemented.
Interoperability - the focus of allowing all law enforcement, fire and first responders to communicate seamlessly - was one of them.
Through the emphasis of Sheriff James Telb, the weapons of mass destruction task force, the 9-1-1 emergency phone system committee and all local fire and police chiefs, interoperability is here.
The commissioners supported the recommendations from the various groups that federal funds coming into Lucas County be dedicated toward this system (along with personal protective equipment for all first responders). Portions of the 9-1-1 Levy were also targeted for this function.
Land was purchased or leased or dedicated for the towers necessary to the system and all jurisdictions got a portion of the costs for their individual radios paid for.
The critical point was that everyone had to be a part of the system, for without total support from all jurisdictions, the goal of everyone being able to talk to each would not be accomplished.
Many politicians in this area talk about 'regional cooperation.' But they often fail to recognize the excellent cooperative efforts that already exist, especially in the courts, law enforcement and fire/first responder areas. It was truly refreshing to participate in the various groups and committees and see them all agree that, as important as their individual needs were, the overall community - including the people they represented - would be better served by having this capability.
It's been a long process to review the various types of 800 MHz systems, decide on a particular one and a company to provide it, locate the towers, agree upon the radios, coordinate with all the cities, villages and townships to purchase the radios, pay for the system and then bring everyone on line. But it was worth it to have everyone in the county on one system.
Kudos to all those involved in the process and to the local police and fire agencies who supported it and agreed to participate!