Radio Systems Upgrade for Rescue Personnel

Radio Systems Upgrade for Rescue Personnel
Posted on 03/16/2020
On Monday, March 16, the Pleasant Prairie Village Board approved a Communication Stability Proposal with Baycom, Inc. for the amount of $802,950. The very high frequency (VHF) radio systems upgrade is needed to replace the current radio system that is over 20-years-old. The radios are utilized by Police, Fire, and Public Works to communicate daily. 
The recommendation to move forward with the proposal was made by Village staff, who feel it is necessary to ensure safety personnel can communicate clearly during an emergency situation. The current radio system has received various upgrades, but with the growth of the Village over the past ten years, the reliability of coverage has diminished. The number of instances where law enforcement cannot send or receive communications to the dispatch center has increased, creating a significant public safety concern. 

“Special events and incidents require communications to be reliable,” said Police Chief David Smetana. “Law enforcement engages in situations that require clear communication channels, without the clutter of the normal radio traffic. These situations include; high-risk traffic stops, building searches, and crime scenes.”

The contract with Baycom will perform a study to look at the current environment and create a new robust, reliable, and resilient Public Safety Radio Infrastructure. Baycom has proposed a VHF Simulcast system, consisting of four sites, and converting the Police Department channel from analog to digital transmission. They also plan to utilize the Village’s fiber infrastructure to create secure connection points between facilities. 

Pleasant Prairie began evaluating costs to upgrade communication equipment during the 2020 budget process and earmarked $500,000 as a place holder for the project, to fund through short term borrowing. The exact costs were not known at that time. Now that a proper proposal is in place, the Village Administrator and Finance Director are consulting on the additional expense and need for additional financing. Critical communications for emergency responders must be available at all times to ensure the safety of responding Police and Fire personnel. 
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