The Missouri Department of Public Safety reported good news after its new antenna in Washington went live.
A communications antenna was installed on the Crestview water tower Friday, May 12. The installation allowed the Missouri Statewide Interoperability Network (MOSWIN) system to operate in Washington.
The system went live shortly after installation. Police Chief Ed Menefee said he got a call from the state and it reported a massive change in communication coverage.
Last year the city and the Missouri Department of Public Safety agreed to a deal that would allow the state to lease space on top of the water tower. As part of the deal, the city will get $15,000 annually and the state will get help improving communications coverage.
The antenna is intended to fix a “dead zone” in northern Franklin County. Last year the state said Missouri State Highway Patrol officers had reported problems communicating in this area that required a switch to an older frequency.
The state public safety department brought a mobile communications tower to Washington last fall to study if the Crestview site would help improve coverage in the northern Franklin County MOSWIN system.
The MOSWIN system allows multiple agencies and jurisdictions to communicate throughout the state on the same network.
Early results show the new antenna is working. Communications Director Lisa Moffitt also said the highway patrol has reported improved communications.
The Washington Fire Department is currently seeing if MOSWIN can help its coverage gaps as well.
The city also is debating whether or not to hook up to the system.
Moffitt said it would cost an estimated $775,000 to hook up to the system. The cost would be for equipment and upgrades — a bulk of the expense would go toward replacing every single radio used by police and fire…