System Hooks Up 3 States’ Responders
A new electronic communications system will link emergency and law enforcement agencies in a tri-county area that touches upon three separate counties–one each in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota–starting in December. Woodbury
County, Iowa, emergency services director Gary Brown says the new communications system will help departments deal with emergencies such as tornados. The $10 m
illion system was paid for with a $5.9 million dollar Homeland Security grant and the rest from local taxes. To date, 17 such grants have been awarded across the United States, for many states and localities simply do not have the money to implement upgrades and new systems. Across th
e country, many county departments run on unique radio systems that make cross-communication difficult. For instance, there are 90 types of radio networks in Iowa alone.
Although creating statewide systems appeal to most local governments, the cost is prohibitive and over the last two years Homeland Security money has been increasingly sent to large cities.
Nebraska and North Carolina are exploring the development of statewide communications systems estimated to cost between $220 million and $330 million each, says Iowa Homeland Security director David Miller.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Des Moines Register (IA) (11/30/05) P. 1C; Probasco-Sowers, Juli .