Radio situation brings business owners to city council meeting

    Police radios and a local business’ involvement in removing information on three of them led to a discussion, sometimes intense, at the Sept. 4 city council meeting.
    The meeting was moved to Wednesday night last week due to the Labor Day holiday.
    Rick and Jan Elliott, owners of Prairie States Communications, asked to be placed on the meeting agenda to address the police department radio system.
    Rick Elliott said they were at the meeting “to clear the air.” They believe they were treated unfairly by city officials when nine police radios were reprogrammed at another business.
    He reminded the council that they were given 30 days “notice” by the county (regarding payment of an annual fee for dispatch service) or their “radios were going be shut off.”
    “And you guys did nothing,” he said.
    After the city did not meet the payment deadline, the county contracted with Prairie States to electronically disable the city’s police radios using the county’s frequency. Three were actually disabled as the others were off at the time.
    A letter from County Attorney Arlan Wine dated Aug. 7 also stated the radios were to be returned to county if the deadline was not met.
    Mayor Dwight Coleman said the city did not return the radios because at the time, “We still didn’t know who owned them.”

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