Sheriff Clarifies Ringgold Communication Woes

On Friday, I spoke with Sheriff John Ballance about the KTBS news article that the Bienville Parish Journal published entitled “Ringgold Experiencing Phone, Internet Woes Following Crashes.” Sheriff Ballance said, “Through today’s advanced technology and sometimes through weather issues and human error, hiccups occur. We have to continue services to the citizens of Bienville Parish no matter the circumstances.”

The Sheriff clarified the communications issues and provided the following information:

As we all know, Bienville Parish is 822 square miles of mostly rural area. The two largest towns in Bienville Parish are Ringgold and Arcadia. Arcadia is the Parish Seat and where the Bienville Parish Emergency 911 Center is operated by the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office who dispatches for all Fire, EMS, Police calls that come in. This Emergency 911 Center is where all 911 calls for Bienville Parish are received and dispatched from. The Dispatch Center in Arcadia is the primary dispatch location, and the Ringgold Substation does not receive any 911 calls. The Ringgold location serves as a secondary dispatch location and assists the Arcadia location with dispatch for the Ringgold Police Department and other communication functions for the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Ballance provided the following timeline of events:

  • Thursday January 13th 9:00 AM – the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Ringgold Substation reported not being able to get on the internet. The internet service provider, ArklaNet was contacted, and it was determined that the internet connection was still in place and that it was in internal equipment issue. On Friday 14th 8:19 AM the Hi Tech Solutions, the IT contractor for the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office was contacted and at 8:28 AM the problem was resolved and connectivity was restored.
  • Friday January 14th 7:57 AM – MVA Rollover occurred on Hwy 371 south of the Town of Ringgold. This wreck caused damage to a Century Link Box which knocked out phone service for the surrounding area. Century Link was advised by the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office of the damage and had a technician in route.
  • Monday January 17th 4:37 PM – The Louisiana Wireless Information Network (LWIN) is the Louisiana State Agency that handles the 700 MHz system that the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office as well as other emergency response agencies in Bienville Parish. On said date and time, they contacted the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office and notified us that the 700 MHz tower that services the Ringgold area was out of “Wide Area Operations” for unknown reasons. This would hinder radio communications in the area of Ringgold.
  • Tuesday January 18th 2:52 PM – LWIN notified the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office that AT&T Technicians were working on the issue with the Ringgold 700 MHz Tower.
  • Tuesday January 18th 7:19 PM – LWIN notified the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office that the tower was back in Wide Area Operations and a Telco issue had been resolved.

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