NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Police Department will be getting a new digital dispatch system, including handheld radios for officers and new antennas on cell towers.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses voted last week to authorize the mayor to sign a $1.1 million lease-purchase agreement with Motorola. The first of five annual payments on the equipment is due in December of next year. The system was previously approved in this year’s budget as a capital expenditure.
The new equipment will comply with a federal government mandate for all public safety agencies to operate on a narrow bandwidth by 2013, according to Police Chief Christopher Edson.
The current analog police communications system broadcasts at 25 megahertz, but the new digital system will broadcast at 12.5 megahertz, he said.
The switch to the smaller bandwidth will allow more users on the limited radio spectrum, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s website.
Any agency not operating at 12.5 KHz by 2013 will face monetary fines, and possible loss of license, according to the FCC.
Edson said Naugatuck’s new system should be up by late 2012. He said it takes about nine months for the system to be custom-built to take into account Naugatuck’s unique topography and other factors.
“A lot of engineering goes into it,” Edson said.
He said the new equipment will have the capacity to speak to the fire and public works departments through the dispatch center.
The borough worked out a contract that doesn’t leave the town liable for faulty or dangerous equipment, according to borough attorney Edward “Ned” Fitzpatrick.
“We’re telling companies that the world is changing … we’re no longer carrying that burden,” Fitzpatrick said.
The project has been on the borough’s agenda for three years, according to Fitzpatrick.