A communications company will survey New London’s emergency radio systems as part of an analysis of the costs that would be involved in joining Waterford’s new emergency system.
The City Council has approved $2,500 to be paid to Tactical Communications—a Guilford company specializing in radio systems for emergency services, municipalities, and businesses—from the Veolia Water private dedicated contribution fund. The money will be used to conduct a needs assessment on New London’s equipment.
The city has approved a with Waterford. The memorandum is not an official agreement with Waterford, but says that Waterford will agree to include New London on its new $6.5 million emergency communications system if the city agrees to do so. It also says New London will operate approximately 215 portable radios and 135 mobile radios in the system, as well as the police department’s dispatch console. Lt. Brett Mahoney of the Waterford Police Department told city councilors the system can meet an accepted radio standard of providing coverage to 95 percent of New London 95 percent of the time.
According to Tactical Communications, the survey will determine how many municipal vehicles require radios, what the installation requirements for the radios are, what models are suitable for installation, and if New London possesses any radios that can currently work in Waterford’s system. The survey will include vehicles in the and as well as the dispatch console. The company estimated that the survey will take 25 hours at a fee of $100 an hour.
First Selectman Dan Steward of Waterford has said the system is a trunked narrow band system, which would allow New London to conduct its own communications without interference but also allow the city to coordinate with other towns in major emergencies.
Steward estimated that New London would have to spend $4 million to upgrade its system to meet a federal requirement to switch over to narrow band communications by January of 2013. He estimated that inclusion on the Waterford system would cost less than $1.1 million, plus installation costs and an annual maintenance contribution of about $102,000.
Although Waterford and East Lyme are considering merging their dispatch centers, Mahoney said in an e-mail that if the radio agreement goes through it will result in a combination of equipment rather than a merger of New London’s dispatch operations with Waterford.
“New London would need to make clear to their personnel that this is an equipment only study, and not a combined dispatch venture,” he said. “This needs to be done to avoid any misconception that may exist on the New London dispatch center employees that this is a dispatch center merger.”