Town Launches Upgrade to Public Safety Radio System

At the end of July, the Town completed a comprehensive upgrade to the Public Safety Radio System serving Fire, Police, Ambulance Corps and Public Works vehicle and hand-held mobile radios. The new system uses state-of-the-art simulcast radio technology and substantially improves coverage and the ability of first responders to operate safely and provide security to residents throughout town.

Planning for this $2.3 million system upgrade began in 2014 when significant radio system deficiencies were identified.  In the Northwest and West portions of town, first responder portable radios received poor signal reception and, in some cases, no reception at all.  In addition, the computerized backbone of the old radio system was aging and nearing obsolescence.  The old system had a “single-point-of-failure” design, with broadcasting antennas only on the Waveny Water Tank, which exposed the town to losing its entire public safety radio system in a severe storm.  The age and condition of the system was in dire need of an overhaul.

The five-year upgrade project was led by Stuart Sawabini, a former Chairman of the Police Commission and a director with New Canaan’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Deputy Police Chief John DiFederico, and Public Works senior engineer Joe Zagarenski.  The upgrade planning and implementation process required about 35 presentations and cross departmental coordination with various authorities resulting in national, state or town oversite.  After extensive testing, the town, particularly the Northwest portion and West School, have vastly improved coverage.