Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 5, 2014

Fire Department to get better hand-held radios, police department to get new SUV

By Boris Ladwig Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – The Greensburg Fire Department will purchase handheld radios for local firefighters to better allow them to communicate with other agencies in the county and elsewhere in the state.

The Board of Works approved a request Monday by Greensburg Fire Chief Scott Chasteen to acquire seven refurbished radios for a total of $7,800.

Chasteen said the Department has upgraded some of its equipment, including radios in vehicles, but that the firefighters’ handheld radios still work on an older radio frequency that most other law enforcement agencies and emergency responders do not use anymore.

“We can’t really talk to each other,” he said.

While the local firefighters can communicate properly with other agencies from the station and their vehicles, sometimes they need to be able to talk to them on the scene as well, Chasteen said.

If purchased new, the radios would cost about $5,000 a piece, Chasteen said, but the refurbished ones, at $800 a piece, should work fine.

The BoW approved the purchase of the refurbished radios, to be paid out of the Fire Department budget.

The BoW also approved a request by Greensburg Police Chief Stacey Chasteen to purchase a new vehicle to replace a squad car that was damaged in a recent accident.

On Feb. 14, Greensburg Police Captain Fred Huser was northbound in his patrol car on Highway 421N with his lights and sirens activated, approaching the intersection at State Road 3, when he collided with a westbound vehicle. Huser was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The squad car, a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, was totaled.

Chasteen said she had received numerous quotes ranging from about $23,000 to nearly $30,000 for vehicles including a rear-wheel drive Dodge Charger and an all-wheel drive Dodge Durango. She said she would prefer that the BoW approve the purchase of a more expensive SUV, because the all-wheel drive will fare much better in the inclement weather the county has experienced the last couple of months.

The BoW asked Chasteen to use the insurance settlement of $11,612 and some money in the Department’s equipment fund to pay for the bulk of a $25,854 Ford SUV and to determine whether the remainder of about $7,500 could be taken from another fund. If not, Chasteen may have to come back to the BoW to figure out how to pay for the remainder.

The BoW on Monday also:

Approved to purchase a health care service, Consult-a-Doc, for all of its employees and their dependents. The service will cost the city about $6,500 for one year, and will give employees and their dependents access to a physician, by phone, online or Skype, around the clock. Scott Chasteen, a member of the insurance committee, said he expects the service to save the city some money because some employees are incurring significant costs for trips to doctors or the emergency rooms for conditions that can be handled with a prescription that the Consult-a-Doc can prescribe over the phone.

Agreed to adjust a sewer bill for a customer who owns an unoccupied rental home in which the water pipes burst. When the pipes burst, about 41,000 cubic feet of water rushed into the home and spilled into the yard. The sewer bill reached about $1,400, but the BoW agreed to reduce the amount to about $14, as the water did not enter the sewer. The home’s owner still may face paying a water bill of about $938.

Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401; boris.ladwig@greensburgdailynews.com