Three counties apply for public safety grant - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Three counties apply for public safety grant

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

December 15, 2008

BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - Decatur, Grady, and Seminole counties are asking GEMA, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, for four million dollars to change their system in need of an upgrade.

"Currently we operate on an analog system," says Decatur County Finance Director Carl Rowland.

If they receive the money they'll make the transition to digital.

"We've got a lot of black holes...over-bleed from other public safety telecommunication centers, and often our officers and other first responders are out in the counties with out radio coverage, which can be a life threatening situation," says Rowland.

They plan on installing a "master switch" to act as the center of communication for emergency responders in all three counties. Providing better coverage, and safety.

"This is the first phase of several phases," he says.

Next on the to-do list? The Decatur County's emergency 9-1-1 center.

"The equipment there is 15 years old and along with going digital we'll have to upgrade that, we'll upgrade in-car radios, hand held radios," he says.

They even plan on moving the 9-1-1 center to a bigger facility.

Finance Director Carl Rowland says he feels confident they'll get the funds. But it could take up to 12 months for the project to really take off.

Right now using the analog radio system 1/3 of decatur county isn't covered.

Which means if an officer is in one of those black holes, they can't reach other officers or the 9-1-1 center on their mobile radio if they're in life-threatening situations. Feedback

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