Bellefontaine Examiner

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City uses $170,000 in grants to upgrade police radios

Three Homeland Security grants are nearly all of a $170,000 project to replace the Bellefontaine Police Department’s radio dispatch center.

new-dispatch

Bellefontaine Police Dispatcher Cindy Padgitt works at one of two new dispatch work stations Thursday while James Floors and Interiors employee Denny Overmyer, foreground, wraps up carpet work. (EXAMINER PHOTO | JOEL E. MAST)

Both dispatch work stations are in and operating, Police Chief Brandon Standley said Friday. He expects there will be some “tweaking” of the system in the next week followed by additional training for the staff.

The new system replaces 17-year-old units that were obsolete and hard to repair.

The Franklin County region for the Department of Homeland Security provided almost $118,000, while the Logan County Emergency Management Agency’s local advisory board chipped in $30,744. The federal agency also provided another $10,000.

All of the money came as result of the local department’s efforts to identify and apply for the funds.

The new system takes up much less space and should use less energy. It also expands the department’s ability to communicate with local and state law enforcement agencies.

Dispatchers also are working with larger video screens at work stations with greater flexibility for ergonomic adjustments.

Chief Standley told the Bellefontaine City Council Finance Committee on Tuesday his department was able to increase the regional grant by another $18,000 to pay for cruiser-based equipment to extend the range of handheld portable radios.

The city has to chip in $5,000 to cover the installation.

Once installed, officers should be able to range further into buildings and maintain radio contact with dispatchers.

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