Police Get New Radio System

Robert Thomas

Outdated, obsolete, difficult to repair, soon hard-to-find parts and a potential for a catastrophic failure are the reasons given to replace the present Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) radio system.

"It's been 15 years now and it (present radio system) has reached the end of its life span on about two years. We have been keeping it cobbled together while we were looking at something else," MJPS Chief Rick Bourassa said.

Costing $940,079.30, the new system will replace the present system purchased in 2000 and is set to be operational by December. Currently there is $1,250,899 in the Major Equipment Budget designated to replace the radio system, so no new funding will be required.

Additional costs are an estimated $25,000 to convert an ATCO trailer donated by Saskatchewan Environment for a radio shack, consultation fees spent so far of $31,501 and PTT Cellular costs of $12,000.

"We have more than adequate funding to look after this," Chief Bourassa said.

The radio system was put out under the new purchasing policy Council enacted about a year ago the Chief said, adding, the proposal accepted was not only the cheapest but also the best value. The Police Board of Commissioners had previously approved the purchase.

"We're pretty confident this is the lowest price and best value and best for us in the long term."

The new radio system will see each police unit tracked by GPS, which will allow units to be coordinated which MJPS cannot presently do. The system is also data capable while presently statuses are updated verbally.

The communications trailer will have to be upgraded with heat and air conditioning, fenced in plus intrusion alarms installed.

Costs savings will be achieved because Prairie Mobile will also provide service meaning the City radio technician who is presently working part-time backing up the present radio system will no longer be needed.

A guarantee will also be made into how long replacement parts will be available for repairs. It also includes software upgrades.

The Commission was told MJPS could not just use the push button Bell cellular telephones as a cheap route due to Provincial privacy legislation. The cellular phone based PTT system will mean a switch in carriers to Bell Mobility but the Chief described the cost as negligible because MJPS already pays the cellular bills.

Commissioner Brian Swanson asked about the redundancies built into the system.

Chief Bourassa said the new radio system will give MJPS access to three separate systems : a primary, secondary and Provincial Public Safety System.

Commissioner Frasier Tolmie asked about implementation of the new system.

Chief Bourassa said that dates of having the system up would still be negotiated but they would include "penalties if they don't get it up in time."

The new system is scheduled to be operational December 1st. The new system will also have an estimated 15 year life span