City gets $213,000 grant for police radio upgrades

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The city of Middlesboro has been awarded a grant for $213,900 to upgrade the mobile and portable radio equipment for the Middlesboro City Police Department.

According to Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson, the news of the grant reached the city recently.

“Last week we got some really good news for our first responders,” Nelson said. “We applied for a Homeland Security Grant in the amount of nearly $214,000.”

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Nelson was advised of the award via a letter from the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.

“On behalf of Gov. Andy Beshear, the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the successful grant application submitted for FFY 2021 Homeland Security Grant Program,” states the letter.

The award letter states the grant funding is to be used for the installation of purchase of repeaters and mobile and portable radio equipment for the Middlesboro Police Department.

“I want to thank Gov. Andy Beshear for selecting us for this grant,” Nelson said. “I appreciate it very much.”

Nelson explained an issue with the Middlesboro Police Department’s radio communications was the reason behind applying for the grant.

“Former Police Chief (Tom) Busik brought this to my attention, as has (current Middlesboro City Police Chief) Mike Orr,” Nelson said. “Our radios are pretty well outdated, and we have problems sometimes with other agencies bleeding over onto our radios.”

Nelson noted there are certain locations where radio reception is compromised.

“We applied for this grant to update the repeaters on the mountain as well as the radios that the guys carry,” Nelson said. “Basically it’s for safety and we’re real tickled that we got it.”

The radio repeater towers, which are located at higher elevations, provide a signal boost for radio communications.

“It receives a signal and then amplifies that signal and sends it out to areas that are a little bit weaker,” Nelson said.

According to Nelson, the city will meet with representatives from the Department of Homeland Security to discuss how to move forward with the project before spending any of the funds.

Many at the Middlesboro Police Department are looking forward to the upgrades.

“All the folks I’ve talked to, especially our dispatchers, are pretty happy about it,” Nelson said.