July 10, 2009
By Jessica Kirkpatrick
Published: Bonham Journal
The dog days of summer were interrupted for local officials after learning that the paging system was inoperable. Last week, the Journal reported the closure of Advanced Communications, which provided pager service to both Fannin and Grayson County.
“We are still able to provide key services to our citizens,” said Bonham Police Department Captain Tim La Vergne. American Messaging Service, headquartered in Lewisville, Texas, has done their best to provide all local departments with pagers. Most departments were back up and running by Wednesday or Thursday of last week, just in time for the holiday weekend.
Everyone is back up and running except for two of the 10 departments in Fannin County. Leonard was already using AMS and Honey Grove is paged out through their radios; Red River Regional Hospital is also back up.
AMS is currently working on setting up permanent towers throughout the county. It is expected that three to four towers will be needed to cover the entire county. AMS provided a portable tower last Thursday installed at the Public Works Department of the City, for better coverage of the Bonham area.
“We had a contingency plan in place,” said La Vergne. “We were still able to ensure sufficient response,” he added.
The purchase of the new pagers did not affect budget numbers for the City of Bonham. The pagers were purchased at a lower cost than the previous contract with Advanced Communications. “We bought the pagers at a state contract price,” said La Vergne. At this cost, they are able to purchase twice the amount at the same cost, providing more responders with pager service during emergency situations.
“They have been very proactive,” added La Vergne of AMS.
AMS is the second largest paging company in the United States that services more than 1.2 million customers. Their coverage extends to 98 of the top 100 major metropolitan areas.