Council discusses expensive transition to digital radios
Graham Police and Fire departments discussed the city’s need to begin preparations for the $5 million county-wide switch to digital communications – a move required by 2025 – with the Graham city council Thursday.
Present at the meeting and speaking directly to the council were Graham Police Chief Tony Widner, Graham Fire Chief Jerry David and Graham Assistant Police Chief Brent Bullock. Under the Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP), all first responders at all levels of government were to provide their workers with digital radio communication that used a shared system by 2015. That deadline was later extended.
“The federal government has mandated that by 2025 we are operating with digital radio equipment and there are some grant funds that have been available,” Widner said. “Historically we haven’t been able to access those, but we are trying again.”
The $5 million price tag includes all departments within Young County, except for the sheriff’s department, plus additional work that needs to be done on existing radio towers and base stations, plus new units for vehicles and new portables and repeater units. David said the city department’s counted the mobile and handhelds units that would need to be replaced and the city will require about 70 handhelds and about 80 to 90 mobiles.