Colonie to upgrade 911 system

Town moves to be part of countywide communications project

— A $6 million Albany County grant will pay for upgrades to the Town of Colonie communications system that will also save the town up to $130,000 a year and enhance the effectiveness of the 911 call system.

At the town board meeting on Thursday, June 5, the board voted on a resolution to enter an agreement with Albany County and the City of Albany in a countywide communications system.

Town of Colonie Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Teale gave a presentation on the new system, how it will work and its benefits.

“The project started about two years ago when members of the Colonie Police Department were talking with members of Albany County Police Department about how to back up our 911 call center. After a while, we realized we did not have that capability,” said Teale.

The system would be divided into two cells, which include the two current towers in Colonie, and there will also be a tower added from the City of Albany that will improve the town’s coverage.

The first cell will be called the Metro Cell and will consist of 18 channels to be used for Albany and Colonie’s public safety system. The county cell will have six channels for the operation of the county dispatch center. The metro site will be in Albany and control the routine transmissions for both centers, and a back up site will be located in Colonie in case a call center goes down.

“Right now, in the event of a major event, we will be off air until we can rebuild our system,” said Teale.

The funding for the project calls for the replacement of most radio system parts and software. There is no cost to the town for a complete upgrade. It will be funded entirely by the county. Each of the three agencies will maintain ownership of their call centers, as well as the parts and equipment that will be upgraded. The town will add two dispatch positions, bringing their total to eight positions.

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