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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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The purchase of nearly $130,000 worth of radios and other communication equipment for Lake Township’s police, fire, and emergency medical service departments has been approved by the township board of trustees.

The trustees recently authorized the purchase after hearing a report by Mark Hummer, township police chief and administrator, who said the township’s emergency communication system has been under study for about two years – with the focus on participating in a regional system encompassing agencies in several other communities.

Most of the equipment will be bought from Motorola Solutions, Inc., of Schaumberg, Ill.

• 14 portable radios for the police department for $61,915

• 3 portable radios for the fire department for $11,126

• A radio console for the dispatching center for $40,351

• $16,670 to provide narrow banding, relocation of radio repeater equipment, and installation of dispatch and mobile equipment, including work on the township’s radio tower. Bender Communications, Marion, O. is the contractor.

Chief Hummer said he began a study of converting to an 800-megahertz radio system shortly after the township was hit by a June 2010 tornado and the current system was unable to handle the surge in emergency calls.

“The system was overwhelmed in minutes,” he said, “The fire department especially was hit hard.”

The Lucas County Sheriff’s Department, which has been using the 800 system for years, loaned 50 radios to the township to handle tornado-related calls.

The chief said the township should have its new system operating by the end of July.

With the new system, a township police officer involved in a pursuit on I-280 heading north into a different jurisdiction, for example, will be able to call a dispatcher and have a designated pursuit radio channel opened instantly, the chief said. The channel will give the officer a direct contact with other agencies using the 800 system.

In Lucas County, that includes all first responders. Several other police and fire departments in northern Wood County are already using 800 systems.

Chief Hummer said township emergency units will also be able to link with the state’s Multiple-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS)  - a radio and data network that covers users throughout Ohio and a 10-mile radius outside the state.

In a related move, the township is relocating the repeating equipment that amplifies signals to a tower at the dispatching center on Lemoyne Road, bypassing the need for calls to be routed through phone company lines, the chief said. The move will reduce costs by about $1,800 a month.

Police and fire departments in Northwood, Walbridge, Rossford as well as the township recently were awarded a grant of $87,840 for a feasibility study of merging their dispatching services. 

Currently, Rossford and Walbridge contract with Lake Township for 24-hour 9-1-1 dispatch service through the call center on Lemoyne Road.

Northwood handles its own emergency dispatching service at a facility in the police department on Wales Road.

Chief Hummer said the grant will be used to retain RCC Radio Consultants, Inc. to assess the township’s dispatching center and Northwood’s dispatching office and the technology that would be needed for a regional dispatch system.

Poggemeyer Design Group is also being retained to provide assistance in the possible formation of a council of governments that would oversee a regional system.

Once the study is complete, it will be forwarded to the Ohio Department of Development and the communities discussing the proposed merger will be eligible for a grant of up to $500,000 to purchase the needed equipment and software, the chief said.

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