Board members who voted against the deal said they don't believe the county board should be telling office holders how to spend their money.
"It's not a bad idea, but I think we should have voted to provide the sheriff with a specific amount of money and let him decide which system he wants," said board member Karen Luchtefeld, who along with Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Foster voted against the measure.
Chief Deputy John Loy asked the board what would happen if the county went on STARCOM and Altamont police did not.
"We depend on them for a lot of coverage in the western part of the county," Loy said. "If we go to STARCOM and Altamont does not, it creates another operability issue.
"There is no easy solution," Loy added.
"If we don't have what they have, it's kind of useless," said Altamont Police Chief Alan Heiens.
Arnold said he would push the board to make sure the county and Altamont police will find some way to effectively communicate.
"We will find a way to make it happen," he said.
Sheriff's deputy Darin Deters, one of the most vocal proponents of improved operability, said the new system is a good idea.
"I believe it will address our concerns," Deters said.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or firstname.lastname@example.org.