Emergency Services Getting $2 Million Communications Upgrade

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MANCHESTER – The township will be spending nearly $2 million on much-needed upgrades to police and other emergency services equipment.

The Township Council approved the appropriation recently. The township plans to go out to bond for $1.857 million and take $93,000 from its capital improvement fund as down payment.

Township Business Administrator Donna Markulic explained why the upgrades are necessary.

“Most of these changes are due to equipment aging out. There are some new federal laws pertaining to security of police computers which is one of the reasons we need to change out the mobile data terminals [the computers in police vehicles],” Markulic said. “The other aspect is the fact that Ocean County Communications is going to 700 megahertz and we are not.”

Those upgrades and replacements include:

  • Radio systems upgrade: $955,000. Markulic said the upgrade to the existing Motorola main infrastructure will “be end of life” in 2020. “Without this upgrade the system will be vulnerable to break down and yearly maintenance costs will increase dramatically.”
  • Fire and emergency medical services paging system: $270,000. “This project is the construction on the necessary antennas and radios to activate pagers and alert first responders to a call. The county is going to a 700-megahertz radio system which conflicts with our system,” Markulic said. The township fire and first aid squads will be placed on the town’s radio system now.
  • The new pagers for Fire and EMS: $85,000.
  • 911 terminals for dispatch: $360,000. “Our current KML 911 terminals have been in use since 2003. The company is now out of business; service is available, but no parts are available. The KML terminals do not interface with our headsets or Spillman computer aided dispatch system very well due to its age. New technology is needed to support the new e911 protocol which is coming in 2021,” Markulic said.
  • Telephone and audio recording system replacement: $150,000. The township’s Kova recoding system (the system used for incoming police calls and radio transmissions) has been in place since 2004. “The system is at maximum capacity and there is a need to increase the channels recorded (for fire and first aid) and provide a more direct interface with the new Motorola dispatch consoles,” Markulic said.
  • Mobile Data Terminals: $120,000. The patrol MDTs – the computers in police vehicles – have been in service since 2004, and, like most aging technology, need to be replaced due their age and “our security of the terminals in line with the new [National Crime Information Center and State Crime Information Center] standards,” Markulic said.