Supervisors approve sheriff’s radio request

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Transitioning to a statewide wireless network for communications will be a “game-changer” for deputies, Sheriff Eric Clark said, after the Board of Supervisors on Monday approved his request during a regular meeting.

Clark said the switch  costing about $100,000 will allow his department to communicate with other agencies throughout the state but most importantly almost eliminate dead spots in Neshoba County.

The Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN)  radio system was developed after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005 and state agencies could not communicate with each other in the aftermath.

Clark said 68 of Mississippi’s 82 counties are members of MSWIN and the MSWIN radio system offers reliable digital communications throughout the state, including in rural areas such as Neshoba County.

Clark said the switch will improve communication with other agencies in the area as well as ensure that his deputies have coverage in areas not only throughout Neshoba County but also outside of the county.

Clark said that he is getting quotes on the radios and installation, but noted that the state government already has a contract in place so he will not have to bid out the project. He hopes to get 20 new radios installed in department vehicles and between 20 and 25 personal radios. 

His initial estimates have the project costing about $100,000 but he expects that to be on “the high end.”

Clark said he is waiting for the board to approve their minutes so that he can apply for the radio program with the Mississippi Wireless Commission. 

He said that the board will take a few weeks and he expects the MWC to take at least 30 days. It likely will be a minimum of 45 days before Clark can start the purchasing process.

Police and fire departments in Philadelphia also plan to switch to the MSWIN system soon.

Clark has recently spoken with his counterparts in Newton, Winston and Kemper counties, who said they are already on the system and state agencies are all already using the system as well. 

“(MSWIN) was designed with a simple, straightforward objective: Get the right information to the right people, in the right place, at the right time,” the MSWIN website states. 

“With this objective in mind, the MSWIN system is a robust architecture with disaster recovery features that will provide reliable communications under extreme conditions such as hurricanes, ice storms, and floods.”

Scott Hawkins contributed to this report.


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