A garbled call comes over the radio. No one can understand it. That's why the city and county are prepared to spend millions of dollars on a new radio system.
"There are plenty of times, numerous times, where delays prevent us for doing our jobs," said Capt. Jim Junkins, Harrisonburg Emergency Operations. He says he can't say lives have been lost or property has been damaged because of the radio delays, but at a time when public safety is a top national and local priority, he says something needs to be done.
The current system may look hi-tech. But don't be fooled. Some of the equipment is 30-plus years old. The channels easily become overcrowded. And some areas that need services can't be reached.
Junkins says those problems could lead to bigger problems without the new system.
"We're getting to the point where we're in Band-Aid mode and that's not how we want to operate our emergency operation center," added Junkins.
The City of Harrisonburg supports the new radio system, but Council feels it needs to meet with the county about how to split up the costs. The new system should be complete by fall of 2004.