County switches to upgraded radio system on May 28

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 May 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION Two weeks from today Orleans County will transition to a new $7.1 million emergency communications system. The “cut-over” is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 28.

At that time, the county will switch from a 22-year-old analog system to a digital system. There will be better reception and coverage throughout the county, said Paul Wagner, the county’s emergency management director.

The project is adding three new transmission towers – at Route 31A by the Clarendon highway garage, in Albion on Countyhouse Road by the Emergency Management Office and in Shelby on Route 31A by the Medina water tank. That will improve coverage, especially at the outer edges of the county where there have been gaps and unreliability in reception.

Firefighters and police often voice complaints about drops in coverage at the eastern and western ends of the county.

The emergency communications system includes 1,100 radios for police, firefighters, Probation officers and other emergency responders. The project includes 390 new radios while the others are being reprogrammed for the new system.

The upgrade also includes emergency communications equipment at the dispatch center and a backup location. Wagner said the analog system will continue as a standby in case there are any glitches with the new system.