By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield aldermen are moving ahead with the first phase of a four-year plan for upgrading the city’s radio communication system for police and fire personnel.
The Common Council last night voted in favor of a budget resolution that will redirect $190,000 to cover the installation of a simulcast system, which City Administrator Steve Barg says was initially earmarked for purchasing new portable radios for police.
“These are towers that you put in different places in the city and they are not massive towers that are going to take over the landscape,” Barg said. “If we strategically put three in different places and put equipment on it for police transmissions, that would actually provide better coverage than we could do from the portable radios.
“It doesn’t mean that the old portables will not need to be replaced someday. They are still old. They are still in need of being replaced in the next 2-3 years, but that would be a better bang for the buck – so to speak – initially to give that sense of security that the police are able to communicate with dispatch and with other officers.”
Barg says the simulcast infrastructure is the first step in a four-year, $765,000 plan for solving the city’s police radio problems.
The Green Bay-based Baycom Corporation recently presented the Council with the four-year upgrade proposal.
Under the plan, Baycom calls for replacing half of the portable radios next year, and the other half in 2020. Baycom is also proposing a fourth tower site in 2021, at a cost of $44,000. The Fire Department would also be brought on to that system, at a cost of $152,000.
The issue came to light last year when the Marshfield Police Department discovered their portable radios were not working from certain areas of the city. The council responded by taking $190,000 initially earmarked in the 2018 budget for the Marshfield Area Pet Shelter, and putting it toward some kind of police radio plan, which at that time had not yet been identified.