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Upgrading local emergency communications systems under way

Upgrading local emergency communications systems under way

While Oneida County is continually rolling out components of an upgraded digital emergency communications system, some area residents have realized they won’t be able to hear the new digital emergency chatter on their older analog police scanners.

So, the remedy involves investing in a new scanner, but some Observer-Dispatch readers recently were wondering what to buy.

As previously reported, the new equipment setup at the Oneida County 911 center is ongoing and will result in the replacement a patchwork of emergency radio systems across the county, said Kevin Revere, the Oneida County Director of Emergency Services.

The scope of work includes new radio towers, and portable and mobile radios that go in police cars and fire trucks among other vehicles. And, it also upgrades the rest of the county’s analog frequency into a simulcast system that boosts signal strength, ultimately allowing Oneida County 911 operators to be able to talk with officials in a handful of neighboring counties.

Area resident Greg Golden, who has a side business programming scanners, said for those wishing to listen in at home, communications can be heard on digital scanners, “capable of receiving P25 Phase II trunking system signal.”

There are currently two companies that make the specific type of scanner — Whistler and Uniden, he said.

According to the Central New York Interoperability Communications Consortium (the group of counties coordinating their communication systems) records found on RadioReference.com, in the last few weeks, Rome Police Dispatch, Oneida County Fire/EMS and Oneida County local law enforcement talk channels have been added to the new system that will ultimately incorporate emergency communications for five counties —Oneida, Madison, Oswego, Cayuga and Onondaga.

New scanner owners in the region are “kind of scrambling right now because they (Oneida County emergency communication upgrades) just went on the air,” Golden said.

“There is some tweaking that needs to be done” to individual’s digital scanners as new frequencies are added to the county system, he said.

Contact reporter Jolene Cleaver at 315-792-4956 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Cleaver).

 

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