The Kent County Dispatch Authority is launching a brand new radio system

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The 800-megahertz radio system replaces an obsolete analog system and is part of the Michigan Public Safety Communication System’s statewide radio system, which enables coordination between local, state, and federal agencies. Courtesy of the Kent County Dispatch Authority

The Kent County Dispatch Authority has completed the construction and installation of a new statewide digital radio system for police, fire departments and emergency personnel valued at $ 25 million.

The 800-megahertz radio system replaces an obsolete analog system and complements the Michigan Public Safety Communication System (MPSCS) nationwide radio system, enabling coordination between local, state, and federal agencies.

By joining the nationwide network, first responders can better communicate between authorities, which can save lives, property and time, especially in major incidents.

The nationwide $ 25.7 million system consists of six new towers, 12 transfer points, and two 911 dispatch centers. Courtesy of the Kent County Dispatch Authority

The US $ 25.7 million statewide system, funded by a voter-approved 2016 award, consists of six new towers, 12 transmission points, and two 911 dispatch centers: Kent County and Grand Rapids. It is the result of nearly four years of planning, locating, building, installing, and testing equipment.

The project was led by the Kent County Dispatch Authority (KCDA), the multijurisdictional board established by Kent County and the cities of Grand Rapids, Grandville, Walker and Wyoming to improve 911 communications services in the county.

“This new system greatly improves radio coverage and communication for our first responders, which is critical to the safety of our community and the safety of staff responding to critical incidents,” said Curtis Holt, KCDA chairman and city manager of Wyoming . “This project is a great example of the intergovernmental collaboration that benefits the residents we serve and our public safety staff.”

The Grand Rapids Police and Fire Department and the Kent County Sheriff’s Office will begin migrating to the new system in early 2021. Existing MPSCS users have started using the new nationwide system.

“This system will greatly improve radio coverage and clarity of communications,” said Michelle LaJoye-Young, Kent County Sheriff. “This is an important step forward as we work to continuously improve our public safety services. This also increases the safety of all first responders, especially at large community-wide events where time is of the essence. ”

The project also includes the distribution of approximately 5,000 portable and mobile radios to more than 40 police and fire departments in Kent County. Courtesy of the Kent County Dispatch Authority

By joining the MPSCS system, Kent County’s public safety agencies benefit from being part of a statewide system that has more than 279 existing transmission points and more than 100,000 existing users and is maintained, updated and monitored 24/7 to ensure that it is always ready to serve.

“The ability to communicate and work quickly with neighboring authorities is critical,” said Eric Payne, Grand Rapids police chief. “This new system will help us advance our commitment to a community where everyone feels safe and secure.”

The new radio towers are located in the townships of Grand Rapids and Bowne, Casnovia, Gaines, Spencer and Vergennes. Antennas and equipment were added at locations in the cities of East Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Plainfield Township, as well as at existing MPSCS tower locations in Kent County. Each parish has teamed up with KCDA to place the towers and equipment in their parish at no additional cost.

The project also includes the distribution of approximately 5,000 portable and mobile radios to more than 40 police and fire departments in Kent County. This will happen when the agencies begin the transition to the new radio system.

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