Wilson County upgrades emergency radio system

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The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office is one step closer to getting its new VIPER communications system up and running.

That new system includes 800-megahertz radios for deputies. Sheriff Calvin Woodard told commissioners all the equipment is in.

“I can honestly say, the deputies are very, very, very excited,” Woodard told commissioners during Monday night’s meeting. “Thank y’all so much for believing in us and allowing this to happen.”

Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution transferring ownership of the county's radio network infrastructure to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, which will maintain it for county use. The roughly $1 million project includes radios, console upgrades and other equipment.

The new system will help deputies communicate directly with other law enforcement agencies instead of going through 911 operators to do so. The system will also give deputies clear signals in parts of the county that were otherwise spotty.

The VIPER system is managed by the N.C. State Highway Patrol under the N.C. Department of Public Safety and serves all emergency responders, according to state officials.

The county bought the equipment so that the sheriff’s office will be able to communicate on one system at the local, state and federal levels.

It’s a system law enforcement agencies are going toward, officials have said. The Department of Public Safety will handle labor costs, maintenance, service and computer service upgrades once the system is installed with no cost to the county.

The county essentially only had to purchase the equipment. Woodard told commissioners the new system should be ready for use in the next month or two.


New fees were also set Monday for environmental and health department services. Commissioners unanimously approved the fee schedule after it was presented to them by health department officials. The county Board of Health had previously signed off on the fee changes, which went into effect July 1.

Valerie Bullock, the health department’s nursing supervisor, told commissioners the agency reviews its fees each year. Officials consider what their payer sources will reimburse, what it costs the agency to provide the service and what the market will bear, she said. Bullock said the health department’s fees were well below average and officials increased them to be comparable to those in surrounding counties.

Two new environmental health fees are now in place for services the agency wasn’t charging for in the past. Those fees include $105 for an engineer option permitting process and $65 for an existing system compliance inspection.

Water testing fees also increased and are a reflection of the of cost increases by the state lab to county health departments, officials said.

fee increases

• Septic system permit: $350 — $50 increase

• Well permit: $250 — $50 increase

• Public swimming pool plan review: $200 — $50 increase

Water Sample Fee INCREASES

• Bacteriological: $75 — $30 increase

• Inorganic compound: $120 — $40 increase

• Lead water analysis: $120 — $45 increase

• Nitrate analysis: $75 — $30 increase

• Pesticide analysis: $120 — $20 increase

• Petroleum analysis: $120 — $20 increase