Tompkins County Awarded $2.8 Million To Enhance Emergency Radio Network
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Tompkins County Awarded $2.8 Million To Enhance Emergency Radio Network
Tompkins County has been awarded a $2.8 million dollar grant to support enhancements to the county’s radio communications infrastructure. The upgrades will improve communication between local responders and outside agencies.
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has announced funding for Tompkins County through the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant (SICG) program.
The money will be used to add additional nationally recognized radio channels to the County’s radio communications infrastructure. This will allow agencies outside Tompkins County to communicate with local emergency dispatchers and 1st responders.
The funds will also be used to connect Tompkins County's radio system to radio systems in surrounding counties, like the one under construction here in Cortland County.  A dedicated microwave radio link will be built providing 1st responders in each county with the ability to communicate with each other via voice and data.  This will expand the reach of county emergency communications network for mutual aid purposes including searches and police pursuits, as well as medical communications with area hospitals.
Earlier this week Cortland County was informed that it will receive $6 million dollars from the same grant program. $1.1 million of that will be used to expand the county’s current radio upgraded to include the same features being added to the Tompkins County network. The other $4.9 million will go to pay down the original project costs, Cortland County is in the process of  building a nearly $16 million dollar communications network, the county has received over $10 million in grants to support the project.
Following the September 11th terrorist attacks New York State attempted to build statewide emergency communications network that was fully interoperable allowing all federal, state, and local agencies to speak directly with each other. After three years and millions of dollars the program failed miserable and the state abandoned the effort leaving counties to develop the network on their own.
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