EDITORIAL/Neshoba SO radios good call

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Neshoba County Sheriff’s deputies are now using a state-of-the-art radio network developed after Hurricane Katrina.

The Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN) was designed with a simple, straightforward objective: Get the right information to the right people, in the right place, at the right time. 

And it’s working now in Neshoba County.

“All of the communication shortfalls that we were experiencing are a thing of the past,” Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark said earlier this month after the radios were installed.

Deputies have been issued personal radios that are compatible with the system as well as having radios installed in all of the fleet vehicles.

“These radios will make the county a safer place and are already making our deputies safer,” Clark said.

The Neshoba County Board of Supervisors voted to spend $50,000 to purchase 22 portable and 20 mobile MSWIN compatible radios in May.

MSWIN is a P-25 700 MHz LMR public safety communication system that is designed to provide 97% mobile area coverage statewide via multiple sites.

MSWIN is the only statewide interoperable emergency communication voice and data network available for use by both state and local public safety entities. It is designed to allow any manufacturer’s P-25 compliant radios to operate on the system.

This type of system offers the following benefits:

• The ability to coordinate communications with other agencies or jurisdictions;

• The ability to purchase radios from more than one vendor; and

• The ability to share resources to enhance communications and control costs.

Mutual aid/interoperability talkgroups are inserted in all MSWIN subscriber radios to ensure optimum statewide interoperability.

Clark said other law enforcement agencies in East Mississippi have already gone to the MSWIN radios and that’s beneficial to public safety.

The Philadelphia police and fire departments are considering the move and 68 other counties already have made the move.

Out of the chaos of Katrina and a collapse of communications, then-Gov. Haley Barbour formed a commission to come up with solutions to improve statewide communication among first responders and the MSWIN was born.

“It is just a better system,” said Philadelphia Fire Chief Pierce Clark. “Everybody is going to it, and we don’t want to be left behind.”

Philadelphia Police Chief Eric Lyon said the police department plans to move to the MSWIN system when the fire department does.

We hope the Board of Supervisors will see fit to bring the county volunteer fire departments to the network as well.

Neshoba County will receive $5.6 million and the city of Philadelphia $1.6 million in the federal government’s $1.9 trillion federal American Rescue Act passed earlier this year by Congress to help local governments recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a spending gauge, supervisors passed a $15.4 million budget for 2021. The city budget is around $7 million.

Mississippi, by the way, will receive about $6 billion in total in the rescue act, which is equal to the state budget.

Better funding law enforcement is always a solid investment.


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