Edgewood Borough Council approved the purchase of a new police radio system to comply with FCC rules that require all police departments to move communications to the ultra-high band frequencies.
The federal deadline is Jan. 1, but Allegheny County is requiring its departments to move to the new band system by the end of next month.
The borough will purchase 15 Kenwood portable radios and four mobile radios for $15,667. This includes a three-year warranty and installation. Mail-in rebates will also return a minimum of $1,100.
Municipal police departments in Allegheny County will use the 400 MHz band, while most of the other police departments in Pennsylvania will use 800 MHz.
Edgewood will share a band with six local departments. They are Forest Hills, Braddock Hills, Swissvale, Wilkins, Churchill and Wilkinsburg. Original plans were to have Edgewood share a band with 13 departments but concerns about confusion whittled it down to six.
“That makes sense because we work with each other to begin with,” said Chief Robert Payne. “I think in the long run we’ll be better in this system.”
Payne said the radio change took years coordinating with state and county officials and many municipalities put off buying new radios until now so manufacture warranties were not wasted on radios not being used in service.
The new system should give police, fire and EMS better quality of service and also clears frequency space in the high bands where emergency responders now operate.
Each officer will be assigned a radio that includes technology to identify each individual officer when they’re broadcasting.
Chief Payne anticipates a period where the kinks in the new system will have to be teased out, but since the departments already work closely together, it shouldn’t take too long until the system is running flawlessly.
In other news:
- Twenty-one police hopefuls passed the Civil Service exam. The next phase test will be physical agility, and after that, oral interviews will be held in order to hire a new police officer.
- Council approved $135,000 to be paid for goods and services received by the borough last month of which $39,325 came from the general fund and $96,153 came from the sewer fund.