The radio system for Galloway Township Emergency Management needs an upgrade, and the costs could come close to $1 million, according to Township Manager Arch Liston.
“Our current system is at the end of its life,” Galloway Police Chief Pat Moran told council at its meeting on Sept. 11. “We need to move on. There is no choice.”
The current system was installed in 2002-03. Galloway, Egg Harbor Township and Brigantine all entered into the system at the same time. The system is expected to last 10 years, and an upgrade is mandatory by 2014, according to Moran.
The equipment is beyond its service life, but “through an active maintenance plan,” the three municipalities have been able to continue using the equipment, according to the project summary issued to the municipalities by the county and obtained by Galloway Patch.
The three municipalities are paying for the current equipment over a period of 13 years, meaning they will be done paying for it by 2015, one year after the new P25 (Project 25) Phase II technology needs to be installed.
All three municipalities are part of a package deal, but Moran is looking for any other avenues the department might pursue. He wants to make sure the department can get the best deal for the benefit of the township.
“We’ve been talking about this over the last year,” Moran said. “I’ve gave my opinion (when talks first started) and it hasn’t changed. We’re looking to get the best price for the best quality.”
The technology is being adapted on a state and federal level, according to the project summary. Cape May County is also adapting the system, according to the summary.
The upgrade will also provide a way for integration and interoperability to muncipalities and agencies not using the P25 systemtn, including Atlantic City Police and Fire departments. Currently, the county must use a “switch” device to communicate with Atlantic City Police and Fire on a daily basis, according to the project summary.
At the meeting, Councilman John Mooney suggested having more users on a system may not necessarily make that system more efficient. Mooney was an Atlantic City cop for 35 years.
The issue was also brought up just after 90 percent of the township employees received notifications of possible layoffs.
“We have to have communications systems for Homeland Security,” Mayor Don Purdy said.
“This comes at the worst possible time, but it’s being mandated,” Moran said.