Ocean County Upgrading First Responder Communications

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BRICK – A communications tower is being built on the Ocean County Utilities Authority’s Mantoloking Road property to upgrade radio communications for law enforcement and emergency responders throughout the county.

Construction of this tower started in February and should be completed in about six months, said Donna Flynn, public information officer for Ocean County.

As a result of this upgrade project, radio interference experienced by emergency responders will be eliminated, she said. Emergency responders have experienced interference to radios and communications from DTV for some time. Since 2002, Ocean County began a series of actions to work with the Federal Communications Commission to remedy the problem. Ocean County’s pursuit to resolve the problem brought together members of the FCC staff, Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications, Senate, Congressional and Legislative staff to review the issues affecting Ocean and surrounding counties with the hopes of formulating a plan to provide relief.

The cost of the tower, the generator powering it, and all associated items will cost approximately $940,000, Flynn said. It was funded as part of a $22.8 million upgrade to the county’s communications system. It will upgrade the entire network from 500 to 700 megahertz, purchase equipment and software, construct five other towers, and improve six existing towers.

“These changes will provide a better and safer means of communications for all of the county’s emergency responders and law enforcement agencies,” said Freeholder John P. Kelly, director of law and public safety. “It’s a significant project that will provide considerable benefits to our citizens and those individuals charged with keeping them safe.”