Sheriff Robert Phillips is working with Verizon to help improve the cell phone reception in Charlton County’s south end. St. George, Monica and Georgia Bend residents will potentially be impacted if the phone company decides to work with the county. Currently, Verizon is conducting a study and surveys to better understand the situation.

Phillips said that since this is a public safety issue, it falls under his jurisdiction. In the south-end, he said cell phone reception can be very sporadic. In some places, there are call drops or very little coverage. Some residents who no longer have home phones and travel to other counties for work may not have a way to contact others once at home due to the reception problem. Phillips said the last time the south-end had five-bar reception was in 2011 during the West Mims fire because a temporary cell phone tower was set up but taken down shortly after.

Additionally, Phillips said the poor reception poses a danger to deputies who must switch over to the south tower during rounds. If they do not switch towers, then the deputies will not be able to communicate to other officers. For this reason, it is important to remedy this problem.

Phillips said the goal is for Charlton County to have 100 percent coverage. So while it is not set in stone, Phillips hopes that Verizon decides to improve the situation.