By Jeff Gallatin
City workers continue to get communications equipment upgrades installed this month.
Safety-service Director Don Glauner said the city last week finished moving the service department communications equipment from the Westbury Apartments to a separate site on city property. It joins the fire and police departments, which had already moved their equipment arrays from the Westbury Apartments.
In addition, Glauner and police department officials said the police department’s switch to MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications System) has been completed and is running smoothly.
Glauner said with the service department’s move, the city’s three major departments all have moved away from the Westbury tower they were on for many years.
“All the communications equipment has improved dramatically in recent years,” Glauner said, “and each department has their own setup at different locations, which are easily maintained, and the city controls the sites.”
Glauner said the latest move also saves the city money.
“It will save us about $25,000 annually,” he said. “That’s money that we can put into other projects.”
Referring to the new MARCS radio system for the police department, Glauner and acting police Chief Ron Cox said the city also benefits from the new system. The city had started the transition to MARCS when it received funding from Cuyahoga County to purchase 20 of the digital radios, and then continued with a departmental upgrade.
“It’s a major upgrade for the city,” Glauner said. “It’s a system that many more police and fire departments are using around the county, including several Westshore cities like Bay Village, Westlake and Rocky River are using as well.”
Cox said the closed system provides a better method of communicating between safety forces.
“It’s only open to police and fire agencies who are on the network,” he said. “We can communicate with each other all throughout the country and state. Other people or agencies can’t go on it, if they’re not on the network. The MARCS system has its own equipment throughout the Ohio and other areas, so it’s well taken care of by people who know their system.”
Detective Sgt. Bob Wagner said the ability to communicate more quickly and efficiently is beneficial.
“It’s better for departments if we’re working a case or in a vehicle on the move, we can get right through to the other department,” he said.
It also is beneficial in other circumstances where quick communications is vital, Wagner said.
“We can talk to the other agencies in case there’s a major weather event or natural disaster, or even some kind of terrorist attack,” he said. “We can communicate with other agencies throughout the country if need be. That could be crucial during a major incident of some kind.”