Chilton County 911 receives $23,000 grant
By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer
The Chilton County 911 District was recently named a recipient of an equipment grant from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
Chilton County 911 was awarded a $23,344.40 grant to purchase interoperable 700 MHz digital radios.
The new radios will allow public safety agencies in Chilton County to communicate more effectively with neighboring counties, according to director Dan Wright.
“This is a tremendous step forward in moving toward a public safety rated digital communications platform,” Wright wrote in a press release. “Our neighboring jurisdictions are moving toward 700 MHz … this will provide interoperability with them and … resources statewide as needed. We thank the ALEA for this opportunity and the review panel for our award.”
Chilton County 911 will soon utilize two 700 MHz capable radios at the dispatch center, according to Wright. Four portable radios will be reserved in case of a disaster event, at which time they would be given to responders for use in the field. The expected lifespan of the radios is seven to 10 years.
The Federal Communications Commission reserves parts of the 700MHz frequency range for emergency services. Use of this frequency will reduce interference for responders in Chilton County.
There is “a great deal of coverage in the county already,” according to Wright. Infrastructure in neighboring counties might provide some coverage in addition to the 700MHz repeater site at the Emergency Management Agency office in south Clanton.
The ALEA administered the competitive grant process. A panel of first responder associations reviewed the grants, which were able to fund 65 projects statewide.
In October 2013, ALEA issued its Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan. The goal of this mid-range strategic plan is to enhance communications between emergency services at all levels.
The vision of the plan includes “[creating] a unified and integrated … communications platform … to allow first responder and public safety agencies at the state, county, tribal and municipal levels to communicate to safely, effectively and efficiently protect the people of Alabama.”
“The hope is that we can move forward and add more resources locally,” Wright said.