Emergency officials give thumbs up to radio frequency merger
3/12/2013 (Updated 11:07:21 PM)Every day, Broome County 9-1-1 dispatchers coordinate emergency calls from across the county. A new plan would make managing calls from Town of Vestal and the Village of Endicott.
Instead of each municipality's police department operating on it's own radio frequency, there's a proposed plan to merge the two.
Broome County Emergency Services Manager Brett Chellis said it will greatly improve radio coverage.
"So we're doing upgrades with the system at the same time making the efficiency system better both in the 9-1-1 center and in the field," said Chellis.
"Certainly geographically the municipalities are close enough together where on occasion we do back each other up on serious complaints," said Vestal Police Lt. Gerald Mullins.
If the plan is adopted, Vestal and Endicott police officers will transmit priority dispatch on one channel and administrative communication, like license plate information, on another.
Mullins said that would require additional training for the officers.
"They're going to have to be selective on what they transmit, we're going to have to cut down on unnecessary radio chatter simply because an officer possibly might be on a traffic stop or a similar type of complaint where he might need that frequency time," said Mullins.
Chellis, Mullins, and Endicott Police Chief Michael Cox all agree it's a change in a positive direction, especially for the Endicott radio system.
"Vestal's, just by the nature that they built their radio system up, is a little more robust than ours. So I think that's where we're going to benefit from it. We're going to have a much stronger system for our officers," said Cox.
"A lot of that real time information that are going to the first responder cars will be the same information given to the back up cars. That certainly increases the efficiency," said Mullins.
Chellis added that a better and more efficient the work flow in the 9-1-1 center, means better service for the public.
The Vestal Town Board has approved the consolidation of the radio frequency. The Endicott Village Board has raised some concerns, but plan on discussing the matter at Tuesday night's village board meeting. Both municipalities must agree for the plan to move forward.
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