700 MHz Public Safety Communications system unveiled in Gloucester County
(Clayton, NJ) – Gloucester County’s new 700 MHz communications system is up and running with 3,000 radios distributed to first responder agencies throughout the county.
Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger and Freeholder Deputy Director Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Chila, Liaison to the Department of Public Safety said that the county has worked with first responders since 2012 to create the new 700 MHz system that would help eliminate radio interference that would occur on the previous 500 MHz system.
Director Damminger said, “This was a complex project, and we included input from every discipline of our first responders from throughout the county. What we have now is a state-of-the-art radio system that will keep our first responders from being left without communications.”
“We have been receiving great feedback from our public safety community about the new system. Good quality emergency communications is not something that our public safety officials should have to worry about in this day and age and this investment in our infrastructure is another step to ensure their safety.”
Damminger said that interference on the previous 500 Megahertz system began when the FCC changed the frequencies for digital television in 2002 and created random events, mainly related to weather, where police officers were left in the field without a way to communicate to fellow first responders or dispatch for backup.
Chila said, “We lobbied the FCC to help remedy the problem that in part they created, but when they would not we knew we had to step up and keep our first responders safe. This project was one of the largest public safety infrastructure upgrades the county has ever undertaken. We now have modern equipment, a shared site with Camden County for our border towns and a system that transmits radio signals across the county’s 329 square miles.”
By the end of February all police, fire and EMS were live on the system. 1,400 radios have been distributed to Police, 1,400 to Fire and 200 to EMS and Office of Emergency Management personnel. The $16 million infrastructure upgrade was funded in the county’s 2013 capital budget.
Chila said, “This is a great day for our first responders. We are grateful to all of the cooperation and input we received from our police, fire and EMS professionals from throughout the county. Our county Office of Emergency Response team worked tirelessly to make sure that this is the best system and that we got the best for our taxpayers investment and I am grateful for their dedication.”
The system consists of nine simulcast sites around the county that include microwave dishes, antennas, shelters for equipment and backup generators. These sites receive and transmit radio signals across the county's 329 square miles.