No funding in 2014-15 for Groton radio dispatch systems

Groton — The Town Council will not get the $100,000 it asked for to begin upgrading and consolidating town and city police department radio dispatch systems in the coming fiscal year.

Representative Town Meeting approved zero for the project instead earlier this week. The vote followed a discussion between city and town councilors in which they failed to agree on how consolidating dispatch should be done and whether it should be done.

Director of Emergency Management Joseph Sastre had outlined possible options to upgrade town police dispatching, saying it would extend coverage to the city and allow officers from both departments to hear and speak to one another. The city and town departments use different radio frequencies, so they can’t communicate.

Town officers using portable radios also have had trouble receiving clear messages from dispatch at various places in town due to low signal strength. But some RTM members said $100,000 should not be provided without a specific plan and agreement to get it accomplished.

A study by the Police Executive Research Forum recently recommended the town and city consolidate dispatch services, among other improvements.

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