Officials to fine-tune EMS radio upgrade in Harrisburg

County officials are heading to Harrisburg next week to meet with Pennsylvania State Police and Motorola regarding the ongoing emergency radio system upgrade.

City officials are grappling with whether they need additional equipment.

And how much should be budgeted to cover the expenses.

While the Warren County Commissioners approved the purchase back in May, the system has yet to be implemented.

City of Warren Fire Chief Sam Pascuzzi told Warren City Council earlier this week that he was budgeting $55,000 for purchase of additional radio equipment that the county’s allocation may not cover.

He said there will be “some impact” financially to the city but does not “know for sure what that’s going to be.

Pascuzzi said that what they will need to purchase “depends on their final design of (the) system.”

He added that the question of whether the county’s purchase will meet their departmental needs “remains a question.

“(I) wish it would be resolved soon. The county needs to do some testing to determine what the capability of this is going to be. Then we have to make a decision about whether those capabilities” will meet the department’s needs.

He specifically questioned whether the new system will sufficiently penetrate buildings and, if it doesn’t, noted that repeaters – which would enhance the radio’s range – would need to be placed in the vehicles.

Pascuzzi said the budgeted amount was a “best guess on what (we) will need” and expressed optimism that the number could be reduced.

Police Chief Brandon Deppen said that $40,000 was allocated for radio purchases for the police department.

He said the budgeted amount includes a repeater in each patrol car but noted he isn’t sure whether they are “going to need to do that.”

He noted that testing hasn’t happened and that he is hoping the repeaters are not a necessary purchase, though, he said, they are included in the budget “as a preemptive strike.”

Commissioner Ben Kafferlin told the Times Observer that he and Public Safety Director Todd Lake are going to Harrisburg next week for a status update, which will include meetings with the Pennsylvania State Police and Motorola.

He noted that further information on the status of the project would be available after those meetings.