Grant helps purchase improved radios

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Nov 1, 2004
Terre Haute, IN

TERRE HAUTE — A state grant puts Vigo County first responders about 65 radios closer toward their goal for total interoperability.

Gov. Mitch Daniels announced Thursday more than $20 million in grants for the enhancement of voice and data communication among Indiana’s local first responders.

“The statewide goal is to give all public safety professionals the ability to have communication systems that work with each other, and to make them affordable and available for every community,” said Joe Wainscott, executive director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. “Funds will be used to purchase radios, add seven communication sites and provide training to use the system.”

Vigo County’s share of the grant was $162,316 toward the purchase of 64.93 radios out of the 280 requested. According to information provided by the state, Vigo County currently has 545 radios in the system.

J.D. Kesler, deputy director of Vigo County’s Emergency Management Agency, said the grant “will come through the EMA and then we’ll put them out to the different agencies that responded to the requests.”

These radios in particular will go mostly toward the volunteer fire departments, he said.

Another grant sponsored by U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Evansville) through the Department of Justice’s COPS program is seeking similar funding for local police, Kesler said.

The overall goal is to get all public safety workers hooked into the same system being implemented with the new radio tower behind the Vigo County jail.

Once established, all workers will be “on the same frequency and same system,” Kesler said.

As it stands, some emergency workers can’t talk to each other because of different frequency systems, he said.

“First responders often times use different technologies that impede critical communication among firefighters, police and other emergency personnel during a disaster,” said Jason Hutchens, planning division director at IDHS. “This technology investment will help our first responders effectively communicate and ultimately save lives.”

In total, the grant will provide about 5,200 radios to first responders across Indiana, with an additional $2.9 million going toward communication infrastructure and $2.1 million for the advancement of integrated data sharing.
I hope City Police can say Safe-T is coming :)
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