A Solution in Sight for Middlebury Police Communications

The solution will even help out with the town's biggest problem area, the first selectman says.


Police dispatchers have to repeat their requests to Middlebury police officers as many as three times, Officer Edward Demers wrote in a May 25, 2012, letter to Police Chief Richard Guisti.

When the letter came across First Selectman Edward B. St. John's desk, meetings were scheduled among department heads to discuss the radio communication issues in town, St. John said at the Tuesday, Sept. 4, Board of Selectmen meeting. He said the first step is to change radio transmission sites in town.

The Breakneck Hill transmission site is now located at the Middlebury Police Station. St. John said overgrown foliage near the site negatively impacted communications. Next on the list is moving equipment to the Town Hall.

"We sat down with Motorola and basically, what's going to be happening here is that we're going to move some of our transmission and receiving equipment to the Town Hall and see what impact that has," he said." I need to get this work done before winter."

The Bottom Line

"The bottom line is, we will get interoperability back and be able to transmit and receive from more than one location," said St. John.

After an analysis is conducted on the state of communications once the equipment is moved to the Town Hall, the next step could be creating another transmitter location in town, he said.

"Ultimately, our intent is to simulcast from a third location that is to be determined, which will hopefully fix the problem on the ," said St. John.

Route 63 is an active area in a number of ways: commercially, accident-wise and call-wise, he said.


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A Plan For the Future

Middlebury Police Lt. Richard Wildman said St. John, Chief Guisti, and representatives from Public Works, the Middlebury Fire Department and Northwest Communications discussed a plan at a Wednesday, August 29, meeting. Northwest Communications installed the present communications system, St. John said.

"A plan was put together to address our radio issues on the Police side, make improvements to the Fire and Public Works equipment, and make the system [totally] operational for all departments," said Wildman in an August 29 press release. "Today, equipment which wasn't feasible to purchase years ago due to cost, now is less expensive which is one of the things that [makes this] a good and feasible approach. The goal is to maintain good communications for the safety of the Town's Citizens and the Town's employees."

St. John said he doesn't have cost estimates yet but the price per simulcasting equipment is $30,000 to $40,000. The funds for equipment will likely come from the cell tower rental fund, he said.

The future of communications in town is filled with hope, St. John feels.

"I think we're going to see 100 percent improvement over what we have now," he said.


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