Advertisement

Communications system sought for area agencies

December 27, 2001

Communications system sought for area agencies



By SCOTT BUTKI
scottb@herald-mail.com


Even if it doesn't get $10 million in federal funding, Washington County will seek a new countywide communications system that would tie in the police agencies and fire and emergency organizations in the county, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said Wednesday.

The county included $10 million for a communications system as part of a $31 million written funding request made by U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., to the White House. The total request also includes appeals from the Frederick County government and the Washington and Frederick County hospitals for money.

The county needs an upgraded communication system with or without the federal funding, Shoop said. In Washington County, as well as in most counties, agencies sometimes have difficulty communicating, he said. That communication is crucial, especially during emergencies, he said.

While the county would prefer to have federal funding, the county commissioners could pay for a system, Shoop said.

Advertisement

The expenses could be paid over a five- to seven-year period as part of the county's capital improvement program, he said.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners will probably need to pay for some initial costs out of next fiscal year's budget, he said.

It is too early to estimate how much a system would cost but he thinks it will be less than the $10 million figure used early on.

One reason the amount is large is because it would require the county to replace all police radios used by the Sheriff's Department, Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue officials and others, he said.

The county is going to set up a committee of experts to determine what a new system would need, Shoop said.

Integrating a new system is one of the possible county goals for 2001. The commissioners have discussed but not acted on the list of goals, Shoop said.

"The county recognizes we need to upgrade. To what degree, that has not totally been decided," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

Many other Maryland counties are also planning upgrades as a response to emergencies such as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Snook said.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|