Emergency Response Receives $3M Grant for Countywide Radio Communications Project

Emergency Response Receives $3M Grant
for Countywide Radio Communications Project

Poughkeepsie, NY… Dutchess County’s ambitious Consolidated Two-Way Radio System Project received a significant boost last week with a $3 million grant award from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ (DHSES) Interoperable Communications Targeted Grant program. County Executive Sue Serino announced the $3 million award will help offset the County’s costs as the Department of Emergency Response continues to facilitate the construction of a new interoperable, countywide public-safety radio network that will increase reliability and eliminate coverage gaps in radio communications among first responders.

Radio Tower Project grantThe County’s Consolidated Two-Way Radio System Project is projected to cost $32 million in total. The Dutchess County Legislature unanimously authorized more than $18 million in serial bonds to fund the project. Additionally, the County has utilized American Rescue Program (ARP) funds and other state and federal funding sources to partially offset project costs. The new $3 million grant from New York State will help reduce the amount the County will need to secure through bonding, saving Dutchess an estimated $357,000 annually in principal, interest and fees.

County Executive Serino said, “In an emergency, seconds count, especially when trying to coordinate help between responding agencies and lives are potentially on the line. Our commitment to ensuring public safety hinges on first responders’ ability to communicate the details of an emergency quickly to be able to coordinate an efficient, response between agencies. Our Emergency Response team’s work on this challenging and complex project has put Dutchess County at the forefront in the state for addressing these critical communications challenges. We appreciate Governor Hochul and the DHSES recognizing this work and providing additional support for this critical investment.”  

The grant will help purchase a Project 25 (P25) digital radio system, which once installed will help bring multiple agencies into a single emergency radio communications system, ensuring smooth, direct communication between Dutchess County first responders as well surrounding counties’ agencies and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department. In addition to improving communication between agencies and disciplines (fire, emergency medical services and law enforcement), the P25 system will significantly improve communications coverage across the County, increase system resiliency and incorporate emerging technologies.

Emergency Response Commissioner Dana Smith said, “Emergency communications infrastructure is critical to preventing gaps in coverage that could prove fatal in an emergency. Once complete, our new radio system will be used by every EMS, fire and law enforcement agency in the county, creating both cost savings and greater interoperability between our 9-1-1 center and the various agencies.”

P25 is a set of standards—established by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International (APCO), the National Association of State Telecommunications Directors (NASTD), federal agencies, and the National Communications System (NCS), and standardized under the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)—manufacturers can follow to ensure their equipment can communicate with equipment produced by other manufacturers.

The County’s radio project, which began in 2022, has included the identification, design and construction of 19 additional radio tower sights throughout Dutchess County. It is anticipated that construction of these sites, as well as installation of equipment, will begin later this year, with testing scheduled for late 2025.

Dutchess County was one of eight counties to be awarded funding through the New York State 2023 Statewide Interoperable Communications Targeted Grant Program. The program focuses on closing gaps in National Interoperability channels implementation and enhancing regional alliance, ensuring that county communication systems remain capable to support multijurisdictional response.

Author: Harlem Valley News