New EMS radio system may take getting used to, but user-friendly

A $1.8 million emergency radio upgrade undertaken by Warren County continues to drive discussion.

On Monday, the purchase was discussed both at separate work sessions of both Warren City Council and the Warren County Commissioners.

City Manager Nancy Freenock said city staff is meeting with Commission Ben Kafferlin, who has championed the project, on Friday.

“The concern is how many units each department is going to have to purchase,” she said.

Police Chief Brandon Deppen said the purchase is “fully funding portables for all the officers” as well as the base unit in each patrol car.

“We have no outlay,” he said. “Everything is going to be replaced. On the law enforcement side of that, it’s true.”

Deppen said the city already has Motorola radios and that their current lapel microphones will be compatible with the new radios.

That may not be the case on the fire department side of the house.

Deppen said the purchase is “not going one-for-one” for the fire department.

But for the police, he said, the new system “will take some getting used to. It is a different system. In the end, we should be able to talk to each other without a problem.”

During the commissioner’s work session held earlier in the day, Kafferlin said that much of the equipment has arrived.

“We may need to push back the timeline for implementation a little bit,” he said. “They’re programming the computers down in Harrisburg and will be bringing them up on the coming weeks (to) continue to do tests. Everything is looking very good.”

He pointed out that the new system will ultimately become more user-friendly.

He said if he currently wants call times for one of the calls his department, Spring Creek, responds to, staff need to call the 911 Center and the 911 Center will fax that information to the department. With the new system, he said departments will be able to log in and get their own data, eliminating several steps.

“All of this together makes us a state of the art 911 facility so I’m really excited about it,” Kafferlin said.