Orleans County to Complete Phase II of Portable Radio Upgrades

Portable Radio Upgrade coming for Village Police Departments

The Orleans County Legislature today said it intends to pass a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting authorizing the county’s Emergency Management Office to utilizeEMS $174,000 in grant funding to purchase portable radios for three (3) village law enforcement agencies.  Lynne Johnson, Chairman of the Orleans County Legislature, said that action will completes Phase II of a multi-year project to upgrade aging portable radios, which have reached end of life. 

 “Like all technology, radios are not exempt from constant technological advances that are needed to improve overall system reliability and the security of our public safety communications infrastructure,” said Johnson.  “The Legislature will always make investments in public safety a top priority.”

Justin Niederhofer, Director of the Emergency Management Office said, “In a rural community, such as Orleans County, it is imperative to first responder safety that all responders have secure and reliable communication equipment. After determining that most of the portable radio equipment used throughout the county was reaching the end of its usable life cycle, and several radios were no longer being supported or repairable by the manufacturer, the Emergency Management Office launched a project to upgrade the aging radios.”    

According to Niederhofer, Phase I of the project included upgrades to all eleven (11) local fire departments at a cost of $229,528 and was completed in 2022.   Phase II includes replacement of radios for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $165,164, and the Villages of Albion, Holley and Medina at a cost of $174,000.  As first responder radios are upgraded, the old radios will be utilized to replace older portable radios that are in use by town highway departments and school districts.

These upgrades will expand communications capabilities with our neighboring counties.  Currently all county law enforcement, fire and ems agencies have direct communication capability with Genesee County agencies.  When this project is complete, the Sheriff’s Office will be able to directly communicate with all bordering counties law enforcement partners. Additionally, The Village of Medina PD will be able to communicate with Niagara County Law Enforcement agencies and The Village of Holley PD will be able to communicate with Monroe County Law Enforcement agencies.  Monroe and Orleans County fire agencies are working on programming updates that will allow for direct communications with each other when responding to fires and other emergencies. 

The project is being funded by the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Statewide Interoperable Communications Formula-Based Grant.  The grant money is generated from the public safety communications surcharge that is charged by wireless phone service providers to their customers.  The use of grant funding prevents increases in the county, town and village tax levies while improving mission critical communications and operational efficiency for county first responders.