Radios are approved for four county departments
By Clay Schuldt
Special to The Argus
In an effort to improve employee safety, the Houston County Board approved on July 11 the purchase of two-way radios for the assessor, surveyor, human services, and public health departments.
“Concern has been brought to the safety committee about safety of employees who are in the field where there is no cell phone coverage,” Human Resource Director Tess Arrick-Kruger said.
The radios could be used as backup for cell phones if, for example, a social worker in the field encountered unexpected confrontation.
“In my experience there is not cell phone coverage all over the county,” Commissioner Teresa Walter said.
Commissioner Tom Bjerke agreed that it was important that county workers be able to communicate safely and made a motion to accept the purchase, which was passed. Commissioner Justin Zmyewski voted against the measure.
The purchase includes 21 portable radios, three base radios, chargers and extra batteries.
Chief Deputy Scott Yeiter will continue to maintain the required programming and tuning of the radios. A minimal maintenance cost will be added. The Southeast Minnesota Regional Radio Board has secured a grant for Houston County in the amount of $31,950, which must be spent on radio equipment.
This purchase will exceed the grant money by $23.64, which will be covered by the Sheriff’s Office budget.
“Minnesota is held up across the county on an example of how to put a radio system together,” Yeiter said. “It was a project that was needed in our county and is well used. It’s something we use every day. It’s money well spent, and time well spent. … This is the biggest thing in my career that I’ll do, is making these radios available in our community.”