Upgrading the county’s radio system would value $ 4.99 million

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Observer photo / Stuart Hedstrom BETTER COMMUNICATIONS – Piscataquis County officials have launched a call for proposals for a study on the public safety radio system to resolve long-standing communication problems for the area’s fire and police departments.

Observer photo / Stuart Hedstrom BETTER COMMUNICATIONS – Piscataquis County officials have launched a call for proposals for a study on the public safety radio system to resolve long-standing communication problems for the area’s fire and police departments.

DOVER-FOXCROFT – Upgrades named in the first phase of a Piscataquis County public safety radio system feasibility study will cost $ 4,994,080. This does not include a possible relocation of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office control center from the cramped conditions of Dover-Foxcroft Prison and up Route 15 to the Guilford Patrol and Investigation Department building.

DOVER-FOXCROFT – Upgrades named in the first phase of a Piscataquis County public safety radio system feasibility study will cost $ 4,994,080. This does not include a possible relocation of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office control center from the cramped conditions of Dover-Foxcroft Prison and up Route 15 to the Guilford Patrol and Investigation Department building.

“This is to get the system up and running,” Tom Capraro, director of the Piscataquis County Emergency Management Agency, told district commissioners during a July 6 meeting. He said the price was between $ 5 million and $ 6 million, which was estimated before the study began.

Capraro said he, Piscataquis County Sheriff Bob Young, Chief Deputy Todd Lyford, and Dispatch Sgt. Gary Grant met through Zoom with Normand Bouchard of the Communications Design Consulting Group of Barrington, New Hampshire, while Bouchard was working on the study. Capraro said Bouchard is now working on phase two – moving the shipping center – but he believes the cost would be minimal with all of the previous work. Capraro previously said that the Guilford building is already 85 percent ready for such a transition.

The first phase includes approximately $ 1,661,000 for new radios and tower equipment, as well as a microwave radio system. “When one speaks, everyone speaks together,” said Capraro.

The study calls for new towers, but Capraro said this could include placing devices on top of existing structures such as those used for cellular service rather than building new towers.

“Again it’s a lot of money but where we started it was about,” said Capraro. It must be determined how the costs for upgrading the radio system will be covered.

A final report with both phases will be presented to the commissioners at a future meeting.

Commissioners accepted a $ 27,000 offer from the Communications Design Consulting Group in November for a radio study to find solutions to long-running communications problems for fire and law enforcement agencies in and around Piscataquis County. Many of the problems arise from the hilly and mountainous terrain of the region.

Goals include meetings with Capraro, Lyford, and Grant, as well as emergency personnel from across Piscataquis County to review communications systems and investigate current and potential locations.

The study would determine upgrade costs, future recurring costs, and the feasibility of a simulcast system.

Bouchard has met with a number of police and fire chiefs to learn about the communication challenges they face. The county has provided Bouchard with some incident tapes so that he could hear the calls directly.

In other areas, commissioners cleared $ 300 between two special district orders to cover PTSD training for staff in the sheriff’s department.

“Sometimes we don’t realize some of the problems law enforcement officers or dispatchers go through because they’re not there,” Lyford said. He said Young wants everyone to be aware of potential mental health issues, and the training sessions were for everyone in the department.

“We will continue to check that people are okay,” Lyford said, saying that efforts are being made so employees know where to turn if they need help.

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