Old Equipment Could Lead To Public Safety Nightmare

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Improving public safety communication is a top funding priority for both the Payson Fire and Police Departments.

The communications equipment, bought in 1990, is critical to both departments' efforts to provide safety for Payson's residents.

"It is very expensive equipment and expensive technology," Fire Chief John Ross told the Capital Improvements Selection Committee at its April 2 meeting.

Police Chief Gordon Gartner told the committee the old equipment contributes to slower response times and delays in making police reports available to the public.

Documentation provided to the committee outlined the problems with the current equipment:

  • The system is antiquated and noncompliant with any new programs, and updates are not available;
  • In the event of a program crash, it is doubtful that records would be recoverable, already system errors are being experienced that indicate a serious crash is on the horizon;
  • The system allows for only one working desktop to be open at a time, adding time to data entry and response time;
  • There are lockups in the middle of calls, resulting in severe officer safety issues

Both chiefs would like new hardware and software, including computer units in the departmental vehicles, handheld radios and two repeater towers.

"This would be a wonderful sales tax issue," Glenn Smith, chief financial officer for the town, told the committee

Backing the chiefs, Town Manager Fred Carpenter said, "This should be the No. 1 priority. I would urge this to be a priority for the committee."

Initial costs presented to the committee totaled $377,730.

Other priorities in public safety: construct another fire station at Tyler Parkway and Highway 260; complete construction and remodeling at the Main Street fire station; a computerized firearms training system; and a Rim country mobile command post to be available at fire scenes, crime scenes, major accidents.

In other business, the committee heard the street priorities it was looking at were estimated to cost $5.6 million.

The CIP committee meets at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 9, in the town hall council chambers, 303 North Beeline Highway.

The agenda includes more discussion of public safety and street projects, plus capital needs of the Parks and Recreation Department and a tree planting project.

For more information, call 474-5242.

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