Putnam County has entered into a $10 million agreement with Motorola to upgrade its emergency radio system. When will the system be live? Are the portable radios used by deputies addressed as part of the $10 million investment? Recently, a sheriff’s deputy could not call for help after being slashed because his radio did not work. How is the issue of radio dead spots being addressed until the upgrade is complete? Will the radios work with those used by other local first responders?
I am the partner of a sheriff’s deputy and the mother of his boys. His wife and children deserve to know that the Legislature is making progress on this upgrade. The Sheriff’s Department has been asking for an upgrade to the poor system since at least the mid-1990s.
Editor’s note: Lawmakers in December approved a recommendation from their Radio Project Committee to spend up to $10 million to have Motorola Solutions upgrade the county’s emergency communications with a “state-of-the-art, fully interoperable, digital simulcast trunked radio system,” according to Neal Sullivan, deputy chair of the Legislature. He said Motorola has guaranteed that it will provide at least 95 percent coverage, “which will be a vast improvement. It also will not require manual switching between sites.”
At a Dec. 11 meeting of the Protective Services Committee, Tom Lannon, the county’s director of information technology, said it would take at least a year to get the system up and running, in part because the 11 towers in the county must be coordinated, and an additional tower is needed for Cold Spring and Nelsonville. At the same meeting, Ken Clair, commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services, called the upgrade a “monumental project” that has been discussed for years, and several first responders expressed gratitude to the lawmakers that it was underway.