The Whitehall Police Department is now able to serve the village better because of the installation of an antenna on top of Skene Manor. The antenna works as a small repeater and can help with the connection of officers and dispatch, according to Whitehall Sgt. Dave Buxton.
“Basically, the antenna is a repeater, it’s just a smaller version,” Buxton said. ‘What we’re able to do is use a new channel that talks to the antenna on the manor and then the signal is sent to Fort Edward.”
With dispatch more than 25 miles away, the department needed to find a way to strengthen the signal.
“Dave found that if there was a building in town that they could put an antenna on, that would work. It took some fiddling around with making sure that it worked, and Dave had a lot of trips up to the third floor,” said Skene Manor president Kris Miner.
Prior to the antenna’s installation, officers would have a challenging time communicating with dispatch if they were not in their patrol vehicles. Based on the nature of the call that officers respond to, a trip back to the car to speak with dispatch could be unhelpful or might even be dangerous.
“Before we were just talking to our portables, and they aren’t hearing us because it’s so far away and because of the area that we’re in,” Buxton said. “This will boost our signal to Fort Edward, and we haven’t had any complaints so far.”
Washington County assisted the department with the purchase of the repeater while the police department purchased the equipment needed.
“It’s been a great help to us and we’re happy with it,” Buxton said.
Miner said that they were glad to be asked about the project and were happy to help. They were glad to be able to assist the department—especially if it was to help to the community.
“From what I understand, officers couldn’t talk on the radios they have on their uniform because there wasn’t a strong enough signal for it,” she said. “The cost of a repeater was too much for something the village could spring for.”
An outlet was run all the way to the third floor for the antenna, so the receiver had a power source, and the antenna is being held on the manor by a bolt. Miner said that there were some guidelines to be followed since the building is a historical structure.
“It can’t be a permanent structure on a historical building, so it’s not permanently fixed to the building,” he said.
Sgt. Buxton and officer Bryan Greco started speaking with Skene Manor about the antenna back before the manor closed for their 2021 season in December.
“Now they can talk on their radios and better serve the community because of it. They don’t have to run back to their cars anymore to get ahold of dispatch,” Miner said. “It didn’t cost us anything, it’s just the right thing to do for the community.”