Audio updates approved for police, firemen
New communications equipment which Fire Chief Brett Russell said would give Clinton police and firemen “the best they’ve ever had” was approved at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
The equipment will be Motorola brand and will be purchased at a cost of approximately $53,000 through the Oklahoma City office of Total Radio Inc. The price includes installation of items that need to be emplaced.
Of the $53,000 cost, Russell said approximately $21,000 would be spent on items for his department and $32,000 on things for the Police Department, which has dispatching duties. He estimated it would include 35 handheld devices and 30 mobile units to go in emergency vehicles.
“There’ll be a three-year warranty on most of the pro-ducts,” he said.
Russell researched the equipment and said it would also help emergency respon-ders at Arapaho, Butler and Custer City who are dispatched out of the Clinton Police Department as is his Fire Department. In fact, the CPD recently took over dispatch duties for the CFD in addition to its own personnel and the three smaller towns, and Russell said that helped uncover the deficiencies of the present system which is approximately 20 years old.
“Technical staff have tested and evaluated our current equipment inclusive of coax cable and antennas,” he wrote in a letter to City Manager Mark Skiles that was provided to councilmen prior to Tuesday’s meeting. “They have determined that the current system does not provide safe communications for the first responders that rely on Clinton dispatch. The current system runs on analog, whereas the updated system will be digital. This will provide much safer and higher quality communications.”
Russell said Arapaho, Butler and Custer City have already purchased new Motorola handheld radios and mobile units. The repeater at Butler also is being worked on, he indicated.
Some of the new digital technology is proprietary to Motorola, he said, so that helped make it the system of choice.
He lauded the service that can be expected from Total Radio.
“Total has been the lowest bidder on other equipment purchases,” he wrote, adding that the changes will include replacement of equipment not only in the Police Department but also of repeaters and duplexers at the 28th Street water tower. Company personnel will be climbing the tower to make those installations.
“Staff is of the opinion that the Motorola communications system is the best use of taxpayer dollars as it provides a quality of communications that the City of Clinton and surrounding towns have never had before,” his letter concluded.
Police Chief David Crabtree endorsed Russell’s opinion.
“It will be the best the City of Clinton has ever had,” he said, at the same time noting that the city got its money’s worth out of the old equipment. But he said it needs to be replaced, that the last time there was a breakdown the present provider had a single replacement.
Russell agreed that it’s time for a change. “At the Fire Department, we get it to work about 50 percent of the time,” he told the council.
Crabtree said some of his patrolmen have to use their cell phones to reach the dispatcher, and he did not think that was a safe situation.
Councilman Jason Hulin asked about the state bid price. Russell said Total Radio beat the state price by $250 per unit. In fact, he said, “Every company I checked with beat the state bid price.”
“It looks like you’ve done your homework,” said Councilman Don Rodolph, moving that the Total Radio package be accepted.
“I second that,” said Bobby Stewart, who then asked Russell if he knew how long it would be before the new equipment that needs to be installed could be in place.
“We’re hoping within weeks,” the fire chief answered. “We’re hoping in four weeks we’ll be up and running because of the research we’ve done prior.”
Besides Rodolph and Stewart, Mayor David Berrong voted for the purchase along with Hulin and Chuy Rosales.