County OKs funds for radio system

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About $8.5 million was well spent Tuesday, according to Denton County commissioners, who approved the purchase of a new radio system for the sheriff’s office.

The system will upgrade outdated equipment and improve response times that the sheriff’s office provides for city of Denton and throughout the county.

“This fully technology-supported system will benefit public safety agencies that serve the citizens of Denton County for many years,” said Randy Plemons, chief deputy sheriff. “During those times of heavy calls for service, special events and other unplanned disasters, first responders will not have to contend with busy signals when utilizing their radios, as they do now with the current antiquated system.”

Plemons said first responders — deputies, firefighters and the like — have a lot of trouble communicating with each other and with central dispatchers. They experienced 13,890 busy signals on the radio system in 2013, he said.

The current system is at least 15 years old with parts verging on obsolescence.

The cost of the Project 25 radio system, around $8.5 million, will be funded through tax notes for the 2014 fiscal year. Last week, commissioners accepted a bid from BOSC Inc. of Dallas to borrow the money to pay for the system. Interest rates are a low 1.41 percent because of the county’s “AAA” bond rating.

County officials are also looking at $1.8 million in future costs for system and software maintenance, software licensing, network operations center monitoring, and preventive maintenance to be funded annually post-warranty.

The system will be provided by Motorola Solutions.

Beth Fleming, county purchasing director, said full implementation will take about 12 months. The equipment will come in pieces as it is installed in four sites in the county. The main equipment will be housed in the sheriff’s office and jail. Officials will be replacing equipment on two existing antenna towers and looking at a fourth site for a tower.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.


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