Members of the Lynch City Council questioned why they were not represented on the county’s E-911 Advisory Board during a meeting on Tuesday. Councilman Carl Collins added he felt there were “a lot of problems” with radio service in the Lynch area and a “tower was promised years ago.”
Police Chief Mike Nunley answered Collins’ comments by saying “there is very little radio service” in the Lynch area. He said only in certain spots can they “get out and be heard.”
“As a general rule, it’s spotty on the lower end of the city, but from city hall up, with the new system, we have no range — we can’t get out. They can’t contact us and we can’t contact them,” said Nunley.
Nunley told council members after talking with E-911 board members recently he was told plans are being made for a radio repeater tower to be placed in the Lynch area. He said with the radio system the police department now has they have to “flip over to the fire department channel to get out.”
“Hopefully, a radio repeater in this area is in the works,” said Nunley.
Councilman Terry Lewis questioned why Lynch is not being represented on the E-911 Advisory Board at this time.
Nunley said he didn’t have the answer to that question, but at this time there is no representation for the Tri-Cities area on that board. He noted everyone is welcome to attend the meetings, but only board members may cast a vote on decisions.
“As far as I know the chief of police in Cumberland has a spot on the board,” said Nunley. “I was told he nor a representative for him has been attending the meetings. So, this area is not being represented. I think we need someone to represent the Tri-Cities area on the board and I’d love to be that representative.”
Harlan County E-911 Advisory Board Chairman David McGill was contacted and he responded by saying the E-911 Advisory Board consists of by ordinance: the Harlan County Judge-Executive or his designee, Kentucky State Police post commander or his representative, one representative each from the Harlan County and Tri-City rescue squads, Harlan County Sheriff, three fire chiefs within the county appointed by the Harlan County Judge-Executive and the police chiefs from the cities of Harlan and Cumberland.
“The three fire chiefs can be changed or rotated, but the other positions would have to be changed by the Harlan Fiscal Court by amending the ordinance,” said McGill. “We are only an advisory board to the fiscal court. I’d like everyone to understand this board is not just for the people sitting on it — it’s for everyone in the county. If any agency has a problem all they have to do is contact someone on the board or come to the meetings and the issue will be addressed.”
McGill said plans have been made to place a radio repeater on Black Mountain in the Lynch area. He said grants were applied for in 2012 and were denied. He said he has reapplied for three new sites and hopes to have better results this year.
“We have some coverage in all our areas, but it’s not great,” said McGill. “With the mountainous terrain, we’ll never have 100 percent coverage. We are working diligently, trying to help every area of the county.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org