Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neptune Beach Makes Plans; to Improve Its Radio System

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neptune Beach Makes Plans; to Improve Its Radio System

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher F. Aguilar, Shorelines staff writer

Neptune Beach plans to spend $90,000 from its reserves to purchase a new radio system that will make it easier for the city's police officers to communicate with nearby law enforcement agents and emergency officials.

The new radio system developed by Motorola will also provide communications with JEA, Jacksonville's main utility provider, and with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue. To create radio coverage for all cities and departments using the new system, Motorola has placed 10 towers throughout Duval County.

This isn't the first time the city has had to dip into its reserves this year. The city used $126,770 in September to balance the 2002-03 budget. The city also used $305,679 during the 2001-02 fiscal year to cover the budget and other expenses. The city currently has about $1.5 million in its reserves.

Neptune Beach has purchased a $94,000 console for the radio system and plans to spend another $111,000 to buy portable and mobile radios for the city's police officers.

A little more than half the money for the system will come from the city's Radio Communications Trust Fund, which comes from a surcharge on traffic citations.

"This is the system of the future," said Police Officer Larry Dean. "It's been a long time coming."

For years, the police departments at the three Beaches cities and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office have operated with different police radio systems that made it difficult to communicate with each other in emergency situations.

"This is the first time in history of Northeast Florida that we will have inter-operability between the departments," said Police Chief Bill Brandt.

Atlantic Beach Deputy Police Chief John Campbell said the new radio system will allow officers from the three Beaches cities and Jacksonville to talk to each other and provide better assistance between the police departments.

"We rely on the other beach cities for assistance and we also help them," he said. "It's really nice to be able to talk to them."

Campbell said another advantage of the radio system is that Beaches police departments will be able to communicate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with Duval County's Emergency Operations Center in case of a major emergency. …

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