Schenectady County Legislature to accept $6 million Grant Award for County-Wide Public Safety Radio System

Unified Communications Center

The Schenectady County Legislature’s Public Safety and Firefighting committee discussed at their June 3rd meeting the acceptance of a $6 million grant award from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to expand public safety radio communication systems, vastly improving radio coverage, particularly in areas with difficult terrain.

“Every second counts in an emergency and the ability to improve and expand our current radio system will ensure better communication between our dispatch, police, fire and EMTs and provide for a quicker response which often can mean the difference between life and death,” said Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Legislature.

The new radio system will replace the existing disparate municipal law enforcement radio systems and the fire radio system, which operate on various frequency bands.  All first responders will be on the same system increasing inter-agency communication and interoperable communication for all responders, and provide multiple levels of redundancy to assure for availability and reliability for responders.

Total cost for the completed system will be $18,600,000.  The goal is for there to be little or no cost to the City, towns, villages or fire districts as the County is utilizing a combination of multiple grant sources, inter-municipal cooperation savings, and capital financing.  The County to date has secured $1,798,481 in additional grant funding and will be submitting other grand applications.  The county also recently replaced the public safety tower at Bevis Hill, which is a major hub in the new radio system. This is a collaborative project, as we’ll be sharing Albany County’s radio system core (a $1 million savings), which will result in expanded coverage and will provide interoperability across county lines.

The Legislature will vote to accept the funding at their June 11, 2019 regular meeting.