Sheriff’s Department teams up with VTel to replace aging communications tower

NEWFANE — Sheriff Keith Clark is finally starting to see movement on a process he started some two years ago to replace the aging radio tower at the Windham County Sheriff's Department Newfane headquarters, through accessing grant monies for broadband communications.

By partnering with VTel, a Springfield-based firm, the tower would be replaced at no cost to the department.

Clark told the Selectboard Dec. 20 that there are locations in the town where he cannot reach dispatch - and thus his other officers - if he needs to, and that the tower's structural integrity is deteriorating.

The increased height of the replacement tower would allow those dead zones to be covered in all but one or two spots.

Addressing concerns raised to the board by the Windham County Historical Society, Karl A. Rinker, president of Rinker Communications of Barre, replied, “Yes. If it fell, it could hit the building.”

However, he went on to explain, the design components of these towers include building in a “weak point” that will encourage the tower to fall away from the building if it were to fall at all.

Clark said all the necessary paperwork is being drawn up, including a signed easement for access from the county, which owns the property. The paperwork has been submitted to VTel, which can then begin the application process with the Public Service Board.

Plans for the new tower are available on the Windham County Sheriff's website or in person at the office at 11 Jail St.

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