A lightning strike during a storm about two weeks ago caused thousands of dollars of damage to Southold Police Department’s dispatch system that is barely four months old.
The hit knocked out the police department’s system for about 20 minutes, Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said at Tuesday’s town board work session. It was a “direct hit” to the tower next to police headquarters, he said.
Local 911 calls were transferred to East Hampton Village while Southold’s system was not fully restored, the chief said. This automatically happens whenever the town’s system is down, he said.
The dispatch room runs three to four stations at a time, including one for 911 calls, one used for in-house dispatch and another for mapping. Two of those stations were back on the line by the end of that day, Chief Flatley said.
The total damage is estimated to cost about $35,000 to $40,000, he said. It was all new equipment that was affected, including new computers in the dispatch room.
The new system replaced a 15-year-old radio room with outdated technology that experienced radio failures and with difficult to find replacement parts, Chief Flatley said in May when the new dispatch room got up and running.
The new room was put in place using $340,000 donated by the Charles and Helen Reichert Family Foundation after Mr. Reichert, owner of IGA supermarkets, learned about the departments radio issues last summer.
Photo caption: Dispatcher Colleen Rice at a new radio room station at Southold Town Police headquarters in May. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)