Poor radio reception causing problems for Butler Co. first responders


BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Butler County is facing problems with its dispatcher radio reception.

At times, 911 calls don’t go through posing safety issues for the community and first responders.

Butler County has had a $14 million state-of-the-art radio system for a decade now.

“As the system ages, we’re finding some of those aches and pains,” explained Jim Schmidt, Butler County Emergency Manager.

As the years go by, some problems are starting to emerge.

“It’s when you get into a building or a home, inside a structure that you lose your coverage and that concerns us in the emergency coverage,” said Schmidt.

There are six sites with towers that pick up the radio signal. But, recently, the county has seen more “dead spots.” Making it hard for dispatch to communicate with first responders.

“Calling for the people to get out, yet, they didn’t get it over the radio,” Schmidt stated.

He sees this firsthand. Not only is he Butler County’s Emergency Manager, he’s also a volunteer firefighter in Rose Hill.

“It’s when I can’t talk to someone in the burning house in Rose Hill or Douglass, that I get worried,” Schmidt explained. “We hate being without lifelines.”

After talking with county commissioners, officials have proposed adding one more site around Douglass.

”We have this site that we didn’t put up, we now know we need to put up,” he said.

Schmidt and others are hoping this $600,000 upgrade will fix the problem.

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