CROYDON — Police Chief Richard Lee got the go-ahead to buy a new radio this week after months of problems with the less-expensive model chosen by selectmen.
“We decided to go with the supplier (Lee) wanted,” Selectboard Chair Russell Edwards said Wednesday.
Lee said the radio he uses on duty died this summer and he went to selectmen in the town of 700 residents for a new unit.
He gave the board the specifications for the one he wanted, but the board opted to purchase a less powerful radio to save money.
“I wanted a 100-watt radio because that’s what you need for Croydon, and they got me a 50-watt,” Lee said.
Lee’s preferred model cost about $3,400; the one the town purchased cost $2,100. But Lee said the cheaper radio did not work, putting him in danger when he went on police calls.
“I’m going to get killed out here,” Lee said last week.
Edwards said the radio unit the select board bought did not operate properly in several areas of town. Those issues were not resolved after a number of attempts by the town’s vendor.
Lee said the vendor has been out to Croydon three times, but the “dead zones” got worse.
The radio did not have the frequencies for area departments programmed into it, and Lee was unable to communicate with officers in neighboring Newport. The radio was also having difficulty making contact with the New London dispatch center and the Sunapee repeater, Lee said.
Edwards started on the board last spring, after the fallout from the March Town Meeting’s vote to eliminate the town police department was deemed illegal and residents demanded a special Town Meeting to overturn the results.
At that meeting, residents overwhelmingly supported retaining the department and Lee, the town’s only police officer.
The board membership since March has seen significant turnover, with Gary Quimby and Reagan Clarke resigning.
Selectman Joe Marko appointed Ian Underwood to the board during an unposted emergency meeting, and Edwards joined weeks later after another candidate declined an appointment.
Edwards said he hopes to bring some stability to town.
“I’m just trying to get the town working on an even keel,” Edwards said.