Federal, state money to upgrade Madison County public safety

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WAMPSVILLE — The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has granted Madison County $3.5 million towards the development and consolidation of public safety communications.

The federal government will reimburse the county for expenses made as it uses approved equipment and consultants to upgrade its first responder communications. The grant period is in effect for the remainder of 2017.

The Madison County Board of Supervisors approved the agreement with DHSES and allowed adjustments to the county budget. The county is authorized to spend $2,973,015 towards equipment purchases and upgrades, $284,985 towards consultant expenses and $242,000 towards various other expenses.

The money will allow the county to enhance its emergency response systems and implement Next Generation 911 technology.

NG911 allows digital information based on voice, photo, video and text messages to run continuously from the public to the 91 network and then emergency responders. Implementing NG911 involves the efforts of several individuals who coordinate an evolving system of hardware, software and various standards, protocols and training.

“Our system was outdated, and this money will allow us to update it,” Madison County Administrator Mark Scimone said. “We will have it finished by the end of the year.”

911 grant money

The county will also receive part of the $45 million in emergency grants awarded by state Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to counties throughout the state towards emergency communications.

Madison County will receive $821,280 under the grant. Oneida County will receive $637,360 and Herkimer County $637,534.

The money has been provided through the State Interoperable Communications Grant, which is administered through DHSES and which has awarded over $275 million in five rounds to 57 counties and New York City.

“It is vital to emergency response to continually upgrade and enhance communications systems including 911 technologies,” New York DHSES Commissioner John P. Melville said.

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