Fredericksburg and Stafford officials at the ribbon cutting for the city’s new public safety radio system.  Photo by Robert A. Martin.

City Unveils New Public Safety Radio System

by | Sep 28, 2016 | Government

By Susan Larson. Photos copyright Robert A. Martin.

Fredericksburg police, fire, rescue and sheriff’s department staff members can now communicate better with each other and with other jurisdictions, thanks to a public safety radio system upgrade and partnership with Stafford County.

The City of Fredericksburg unveiled its new public safety radio system with a ribbon cutting at the Fredericksburg Police Department on September 27, 2016.

The city’s outdated 1970s system was no longer providing adequate coverage, despite upgrades through the years. Fredericksburg Fire Chief Edwin Allen, Jr. told City Council in 2015 there were even three specific spots in the city where the system did not work at all.

Based on consultant studies and staff recommendations, City Council voted last year to join Stafford County’s fully operational and up-to-date system.

“Stafford had a powerful system that met our needs, and we have a good working relationship,” Allen said. “We worked out a great partnership.”

In addition to providing stronger radio coverage, the new system enables Fredericksburg emergency services staff, including fire, police, rescue and sheriff, to communicate directly with each other, rather than by relay through the 9-1-1 call center.

The new system has more channels, which increases capacity within each group, or when joint communication is required during an incident or special event. The additional capacity also enables better communication with other jurisdictions.

“We’re very proud of our public safety team members, and we owe them the very best equipment,” Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw said in her remarks.

The city purchased the system for $2,765,000, which included $54,000 for the study. The city spent $2,711,000 on a contract with Motorola to upgrade the city’s public safety communications system. The project was funded with $2.025 million of bond proceeds and local revenues.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget includes $298,000 for operation of the system, including $258,000 to Stafford County for system management.

In future years, annual operating budget costs will include the Stafford management contract, maintenance and other operation costs. The total operating budget estimate for FY 2018 is $468,982; FY 2019 $488,279; FY 2020 $508,440; FY 2021 $529,508.

Debt service costs will average about $220,000 per year, through FY 2026, the city said.

Ribbon Cutting, Communications Center Tours to Unveil City’s New Public Safety Radio System

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