September 26, 2022
September 21, 2022
September 21, 2022
Due to Sedgwick County’s efforts to phase out current emergency radio technology, replacement emergency radios and accessories have become a necessity for a number of counties in Derby.
According to Deputy City Manager Dan Bronson, a request was made to council at its August 23 meeting to replace portable and in-vehicle radio units for Derby Police and Public Works, which the council approved .
“This shift to Phase Two compliant radios is necessary to ensure that the current radio communications system is not overloaded with the increase in devices as well as radio transmissions,” Bronson said.
Capabilities offered by Phase Two radios include increased channel capacity, GPS location, improved audio clarity and coverage areas, and better communication with neighboring agencies (i.e. Mulvane Fire).
Sedgwick County has created a group buy deal offering a bigger discount for radio purchases than Derby could facilitate on its own, according to Bronson, and the contract’s impending expiration on August 31 has created a pressing need to process the item.
Bronson also reported that Derby Fire and Rescue submitted a $641,097 firefighter assistance grant to FEMA for similar radio upgrades earlier this year. These grants will be announced in a few months.
Council Member Rick Coleman asked if the fire service radios could be included in the County Purchase Agreement used for Derby PD and Public Works, with the grant to be repaid if received. City Manager Kiel Mangus noted that there are federal laws that would not allow this, but confirmed that firefighters have the ability to purchase radios even without the subsidies.
“I didn’t want to be in a situation where we can’t buy radios anymore because we didn’t put it in the budget,” Coleman said.
Mangus noted that with access to the Johnson County Purchase Policy and the availability of Derby Difference sales tax funds, this will not be an issue.
With no help from the county buying the radios, Coleman also asked if Derby would be better off with its own emergency dispatch service. Bronson said the city is actually saving millions by not having its own dispatch — which would require replacing the towers and console that the county has to pay for upgrades.
GPS tracking was generally seen as a plus, and although Mayor Randy White noted that he felt “trapped” by software changes and radio upgrades, he was also aware of the importance of a working radio system. Hearing the reports of the aftermath of the 2011 tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, the benefits are clear.
“In an emergency you need something,” White said. “If we are better here, I kind of put it in the plus column.”
As part of a 2022 budget amendment, Derby City Council authorized the execution of an agreement with Motorola Solutions to purchase the radio equipment at a total cost of $469,855. Most (94%) of the cost will be covered by the Public Safety Equipment Reserve Fund, with the remainder being split between the Water and Wastewater Funds.