NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 30, 2012

Safety personnel apply for grant to upgrade radio communication

WEST NEWBURY — Public Safety officials got permission to investigate a $500,000 Community Innovation Challenge grant in hopes of improving regional communications and addressing problems with in-town emergency radio capacity.

At a meeting last week, police Chief Lisa Holmes and fire Chief Scott Berkenbush told selectmen the grant would be applied for jointly by safety personnel in Amesbury, Merrimac, Newburyport, Salisbury and West Newbury. The microwave radio system would provide a foundation that each community could tap into, Holmes said following the meeting.

It would facilitate inter-town communications among police, fire and dispatcher departments. And it would also improve radio transmission from West Newbury’s dispatch center to local safety personnel working in certain areas of town where currently the connection can be sketchy or non-existent.

The town has radio repeaters located at Page Elementary School and Pentucket High School, but communication from the dispatch center to police and fire radios in the valley sections of other parts of town can be unreliable, Holmes said. This creates a dangerous situation for both first responders and the public they are aiming to serve.

Because she has been consistently updating radios within her operating budge t over the past five years to accommodate narrow banding, Holmes said if the grant were to be approved, hooking into the radio system would require “very minimal funds.”

Gov. Deval Patrick recently announced $4 million in funding for the next round of CIC grant program. According to the state website, the program “ invests and incentivizes innovation amount local governments through regionalization and other reforms and efficiencies to maintain critical local services and stretch every taxpayer dollar as far as possible.” The deadline to apply for this round is today.

In other business last Tuesday, selectmen discussed the resignation of chief assessor Karen Rassais and the status of the Page Elementary School lease. Liquor licenses for West Newbury Foodmart and West Newbury Pizza Company were renewed.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Special Features