Communication grant to provide radio, 911 upgrades

Chautauqua County will receive $822,108 for emergency communication improvements.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced $55 million in state grant funding for counties across New York state, including Chautauqua. The state Interoperable Communications Grant contributed $45 million to local governments, while the Public Safety Answering Points Operations Grant contributed an additional $10 million.

The county will receive $174,310 under the Public Safety Answering Points Grant and $647,798 under the 2017 State Interoperable Communications grant.

The formula-based grant is funded by cellular surcharge revenue and allows counties to improve land mobile radio systems.

“In an emergency, every second counts and these funds will help ensure our first responders have access to the best and most up to date communications equipment, enabling them to get the information they need to quickly respond,” Cuomo said. “These grants will bring us one step closer to a stronger, safer and more secure New York for all.”

Counties can use the grant funding for a variety of purposes, including expanding radio coverage by installing new equipment at towers and antenna sites, implementing Next Generation 911 technologies and standards, setting up communication channels among public safety radio systems, consolidating emergency services dispatch centers, supporting the operations of public safety dispatch centers and deploying new technology that help counties link their systems together. The funding will also support training and exercises to promote efficient inter-regional communications, cooperation, and overall first responder readiness.

Sheriff Joe Gerace said he is pleased the county received the funds. Gerace said the county put in an application for the grant and will use the funds to improve the radio system and have a 911 update.

“We’re very pleased that the funds have been announced,” he said.

However, when those will happen is up in the air at the moment.

Once the funding is released, Gerace said the updates and improvements will then have to be engineered, designed and procured.

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