Problems persist with Dale County radios, commissioner weighs legal options

Problems persist with Dale County radios, commissioner weighs legal options
Concerns about the radio system were brought up at Tuesday’s county commission meeting. 

DALE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Dale County Commissioners say they are at the final stages of trying to resolve the ongoing radio system issues before taking legal action.

Concerns about the radio system were brought up at Tuesday's county commission meeting.

"It's not working great. We've had some problems. We're trying to get those resolved," said Henry Steagall, Attorney for the Dale County Commission.

The county purchased radios from Motorola in September 2015 for the sheriff's department and have invested roughly $900,000 in the system, according to Steagall. But the sheriff's department says the system has been unreliable.

WSFA has covered at least two of the previous meetings where the Commission, Motorola, and CenturyLink – the company that provides the connections between radio sites - met to discuss addressing issues.

At a December 2017 meeting, it was reported work had been done to replace connectors between radio tower sites to create more stable connections. Motorola had also planned to add back-up supply at four radio tower sites. Months later, problems persist.

"We thought we had solved most of the problems-until recently when the system went down for 40 minutes when the sheriff needed it. We just can't have that," said Steagall.

Steagall confirmed commissioners met with Motorola Tuesday morning before the meeting to discuss final resolution options. That final step involves Motorola reaching out to see if Dale County can join other server systems – like Dothan's. Right now, the county is operating on a system out of Baldwin County. The hope is a new server may improve efficiency, but if it doesn't Steagall says legal teams may have to be brought in.

"This is the final chance to get this resolved without going to court – without lawyers getting involved, which we don't want. We just want it to work," Steagall said.

Steagall noted there are other entities involved in the system – including CenturyLink, but that Motorola is the current focus because they provided the radios and suggested the system.

Motorola declined to comment at the meeting, but released a statement:

Motorola Solutions continues to work with Dale County to ensure the performance of their mission-critical radio system and we are discussing short-term and long-term options for their consideration. The system has many components, some of which Motorola Solutions does not control. However, Motorola Solutions continues to work with county providers to determine root causes and solutions, regardless of where issues originate. We remain committed to working with Dale County to ensure the communication system works as designed for first responders and the people they protect.

Centurylink had been at previous meetings but was not at Tuesday's meeting. We reached out to the company for a statement, but have not gotten a response.

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.