Commentary by Larry Lannan
One critically important ingredient of good law enforcement is the ability to communicate via a 2-way radio system. At the Sept. 16 meeting, the Fishers Town Council moved forward with plans for a new radio tower to ensure the local police and fire radio system will be reliable.
Council members received a briefing from Hamilton County officials at a recent work session about a technical evaluation done on the local police and fire radio system used by all government entities in the county. It found the current system was put together in the early 1990s.
Fishers and much of southern Hamilton County has grown substantially since that time. This requires a new look at the radio systems in light of that growth and new technologies.
The technical experts found a need for an additional tower in Fishers in the area of 106th Street and Cumberland Road. Many sites were studied for the placement of the new 190 foot tower. It was determined the Fishers Fire Station near 106th Street and Cumberland Road would be the only one meeting the needs of the radio system.
Officials said an additional tower is critical because the area around 106th and Cumberland Road is a low-lying area (note the regular floods at Cumberland Park, one reason the tower could not be placed there). Without this new tower, it is possible police and fire personnel would not be able to communicate by radio inside buildings and basements.
Town council members quickly realized they would be facing a dilemma. People owning homes in the area of the fire station would likely not be pleased with the erection of a 190 foot antenna next to their homes. The council decided to come down on the side of supporting public safety, and to communicate with the neighbors on the plans for the tower and the reason why it is so important.
When the public hearing was called at the Sept. 16 meeting, there were two remonstrators, each with property adjacent to the site of the planned tower. Each expressed a variety of concerns including the impact on their property values.
The council members listened to those objections, but decided unanimously to move forward with the construction of the tower. Approvals are still required from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.
I don’t blame the remonstrators for objecting to this tower. But in the end, the Fishers Town Council did the right thing.