County Sheriff’s projects on time, under budget

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Falls News staff

SHEBOYGAN – Two major projects involving the Sheriff’s Department are coming in under budget and on schedule.

Sheriff Todd Priebe delivered that good news to the County Board Tuesday.

Priebe reported on the ongoing replacement of emergency radios throughout the county, as well as the creation of a combined emergency dispatch for the county and the city of Sheboygan in the county’s Law Enforcement Center.

“As we speak, we are under budget,” Priebe said of the radio replacement effort.

And for the combined dispatch, Priebe added, “This is another project that is under budget and on time. I’m really happy both our major project are under budget.”

While the remodeling at the Law Enforcement Center to house the joint dispatch center is nearly complete, and 95 percent of county and city dispatchers have been cross-trained for the new setup, Priebe said full implementation will be delayed until the radio replacement project is complete, “because they are so integral and so tied together.”

Motorola, which is supplying the new radios for the county and for local police and fire departments, emergency responders, ambulance services and other users, has said all of the radios should be ready by April or May of next year, according to Priebe.

The county will still need to install a new tower to cover the combined dispatch center and replace the tower on Taylor Hill in the city of Sheboygan, Priebe added.

Once the tower work is done, the county will then have to test the new radios with the combined dispatch center to ensure full coverage of the entire county.

Priebe said that testing will have to wait until spring after trees have fully leafed out, as that impacts reception.

“We’re hoping by June everything will be done,” Priebe told the supervisors.

The sheriff praised the cooperation between city and county officials in completing the combined dispatch project successfully.

“This project is going so well because of the relationship we have with the city. We’ve set the tone for future projects of this kind,” Priebe said.

County Administrator Adam Payne echoed Priebe’s comments in his monthly report to the board.

“This is an immense $13 million-plus project,” Payne commented. He credited the Sheriff’s Department, the board’s Law Committee, the city of Sheboygan Police Department and city officials for the success of the project. “They have been doing a wonderful job.”

He did add that the new combined dispatch center will add $1.2 million to $1.3 million in annual operating costs to the county budget. “That was one of the key rubs to this moving forward,” Payne conceded, but added that the benefits of the combined dispatch would be worth the additional cost.

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