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New field radio system approved, new 9-1-1 equipment has arrived for Portage County


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - One of the items approved by the Portage County Board of Supervisors Monday was a borrowing resolution to upgrade radios for police, sheriff’s department, and fire services. The seven million dollar project will replace aging police, fire, and ambulance radios with a simulcasting system that transmits messages on several towers at one time.

Chief Deputy Daniel Kontos says this change will be a huge improvement for public safety. “Field responders will be able to get to the dispatch center. They won’t have to guess which frequency to be on. Dispatchers, likewise, one button push will get their communication with the field responders. We can dispatch fire and EMS using one set of pages instead of the multiple pages that we have to do now. It will be a great improvement for us.”

On the front end of the county’s emergency services communications, the new enhanced 9-1-1 equipment is being prepared for installation. Kontos says the old stations will be phased out one console at a time to ensure seamless transition. “We are starting to install them in the I-T department right now. The folks from our contractor will be coming in assembling the rest of it next week. They will then put together all of the new dispatch consoles down in the Emergency Operations Center in the basement of this building. The computers will be loaded, programmed, tested, re-tested, and then we will train on those actual systems downstairs.” After that, the new systems will be brought to the dispatch center one by one.

Kontos says the new Portage County enhanced 9-1-1 will be fully operational by the end of the year.