Locals meet with Governor Ivey regarding new Communication System
October 11, 2017 Share

Locals meet with Governor Ivey regarding new Communication System

PHOTO: (Left to Right) Mentone Police Chief Brad Gregg, Deputy Director of the DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Michael Posey, and President of the DeKalb County Chiefs of Police Association Nick Welden (Valley Head Police Chief) went down to Montgomery for the event with Governor Kay Ivey to approve a deal to improve communications for First Responders. (Contributed Photos)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

tyler@southerntorch.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — On Tuesday (October 10, 2017) Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced her decision to accept the FirstNet and AT&T plan to deliver a wireless broadband network to the state’s public safety community.

According to Governor Ivey’s Office, the program, “will build, operate and maintain a highly secure wireless broadband communications network for Alabama’s public safety community at no cost to the state. The FirstNet network will drive innovation and create an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders.”

Deputy Director of the DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Michael Posey, President of the DeKalb County Chiefs of Police Association Nick Welden (Valley Head Police Chief), and Vice President Brad Gregg (Mentone Police Chief) went down to Montgomery for the event with Governor Ivey.

EMA Deputy Director Michael Posey gave us a rundown of the new system:

“This will be a nationwide network communications service that will provide backup redundant communications for emergency services. This is a dedicated spectrum of communications frequencies that will be used on LTE services. It will also provide push to talk communication services for police, fire, rescue, and emergency management services,” said Posey.

“Every first responder in DeKalb County will have two different methods of communications They’ll have traditional communications that they use now; their repeater radios and things that are already in use in the county,” he explained.

Posey also explained that in 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) restricted first responders to narrowband, which seriously limited police and first responders from communicating across the county, and necessitated repeaters. The new system will be much more reliable and eliminate many radio dead zones.

“It will be reliable; something they can depend upon. There are some communications issues now in the county that could be putting lives in danger. We want to eradicate that out of of the county if we can,” explained Posey.  

“We could go out and build our own network, but it would cost us $23 million to do that here in the county, but FirstNet is going to cost us a nominal user fee to do that. The bulk of the $23 million expense comes from the infrastructure; the towers, the computer cords, and everything to link us all together,” said Posey.

“Going with FirstNet alleviates that, because the infrastructure is already there; AT&T owns or has leased all of the infrastructure,” he said.

Posey also explained that such a system has been in the works since the September 11th terrorist attacks, when first responders in New York City weren’t able to communicate with each other. Since, local and state governments across the nation have sought to resolve this problem. The deal with FirstNet and AT&T will help first responders in DeKalb County and across Alabama communicate during disasters, without the costly infrastructure.

“This is something that’s going to change the way we do business as far as communications, and it will increase the focus of lifesaving, and it will help us in DeKalb County to communicate with each other much easier,” said Posey.

Valley Head Police Chief Nick Welden, who also met with the Governor said, “I think it is going to be a great tool and asset to our county. It will be something first responders can utilize to be more effective in doing their job; especially in the event of a natural disaster, and it will not limit our communications ability as it does now when such events happen where communication between first responders is crucial!”

“This is an awesome and much needed blessing coming to DeKalb County,” said Welden.

“I want to thank Governor Ivey on behalf of myself and the DeKalb County Chiefs of Police Association. With continued hard work DeKalb County will only continue to move forward,” concluded Welden. 

Comments

No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write comment

Leave a Reply