Milford first responders need improved communications network

MILFORD – This year, Milford’s first responders are hoping that residents will vote yes on Article 3, which will provide the police, fire and ambulance emergency services a much-needed upgrade and replacement of the existing public radio system that serves the town.

The communications network will have the capability to expand its coverage to area towns such as Wilton and Mont Vernon.

Milford police Capt. Craig Frye said the pricing for the new radio system is essentially the same as last year, which is $2 million for the radio system, and $400,000 for the needed communications center.

“The request for proposal (RFP) for the equipment side of it is set,” he said. “That price is locked down. For the building/addition, we have the same architect who designed the building the first time, which is Gary Goudreau of Cowan-Goudreau Architect firm out of Concord. Gary has been working with us for a while, even before we had a headwind.”

Frye said the departments were hoping that the equipment could be upgraded without having to build a communications center attached to the existing police station, but that’s not a possibility.

“Hence the addition,” Frye said. “Goudreau was awarded the bid and he’s been working on it for some time.”

It’s expected that the radio system will meet Milford’s emergency needs for the next 20 years, and users will have the coverage that they need to communicate from any location in the town of Milford without calls dropping or lapsing.

The new system will also provide sufficient channels to meet the needs of police, fire, ambulance and public works departments. And the new system will afford improved interoperability, which will allow all critical agencies to communicate with one another.

After completing a competitive procurement, the town of Milford negotiated with Motorola Solutions for the updated radio system, which includes, P25 radio system technology, a public safety coverage guarantee, public safety sites and connectivity as well as P25 mobile and portable radios.

Frye said the departments feel confident about the warrant article passing.

“It’s hard when someone puts up a petition article that has no merit,” he said, “that doesn’t have the study and the input that voters ask for. We’ve done everything they wanted us to do.”

It was also stressed that area towns can piggy-back onto the new system, which will greatly enhance emergency communications for their agencies as well as create revenue for the town of Milford and allow area towns to communicate with each other.

“It’s always been verbalized,” Frye said. “Milford has been the 71 percent of this for 30 years.

And talking to the town administrator, it wouldn’t be any more than what they’re paying right now. And it would be reliable for MACC base. It wouldn’t go up. It’s built to accept customers.”

Antennas exist in area towns but Frye said leases or licenses would likely have to be renegotiated to utilized the radio service.

“We’re trying for it,” he said of the new communications radio system. “It has to be fixed.”