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City of Groton police join state police radio system

Groton — The City of Groton Police Department has joined the state police radio system, a move it says will provide better coverage and improve communication with other agencies in Groton and the region.

The police department can now communicate directly with other police departments, including Groton Town, Stonington, and Norwich, said Captain Erick Jenkins.

“Now we have a whole new system that is much better and more effective and can communicate with a lot more people and organizations,” said Jenkins.

“It’s a significant upgrade to our dispatch capabilities, and it's been a year in the making,” added Groton City Mayor Keith Hedrick, who explained that the implementation was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was a collaboration between the city and the town, Hedrick said.

Hedrick said the new radio system gives city full connectivity and no gaps in coverage. If multiple agencies respond to an emergency in the region, city police can communicate with the different agencies.

The upgrade to the radio system follows the lead of the Town of Groton, Stonington and Norwich, which have already joined the state system.

The radio system project, funded through a Town of Groton Capital Improvement Program, cost approximately $171,191 and does not require monthly or annual maintenance fees, since the state maintains the antennas, Jenkins said. He said the only additional costs would be if the city needed any upgrades to its radios years later.

Jenkins said that if city police respond to an incident in another town, they now can quickly switch over to that police department’s channel to communicate directly with the other police department. If multiple police departments are responding to an emergency in the region or coordinating during an event, they can communicate with each other on a common channel, he said.

That means the city department can talk directly to state police Troop E in Montville, Town of Groton, Stonington, Ledyard, Norwich, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, Electric Boat and Environmental Conservation Police, he said.

The upgrade will also enhance coverage and work off of a statewide system of antennas. For example, a Groton City police officer could be in Greenwich and still be able to communicate with the Groton City police department on a portable radio, Jenkins explained.

The city police also will keep its old radio system as a back-up, if needed, said Jenkins.

k.drelich@theday.com

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