Work continues on radio system

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Connection is one of the most important things when it comes to emergency personnel. Prince Edward County is one step closer to establishing a better connection with a new radio communications system.

At the September Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors meeting, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Trey Pyle, gave an update on the emergency communications radio system project as CTA Consultants LLC finished its study.

In the March meeting, the Board voted to have CTA Consultants LLC start Phase 1 of a study to assess the County’s public safety radio communications system. The need for an updated radio system has been discussed in previous meetings as there are many holes in the current system leaving safety personnel unable to contact backup if needed.

“I think that (CTA Consultants LLC) tapping into their knowledge and their history of what they’ve done in the past opened our eyes a lot up here,” said Pyle. “They also gave us suggestions for stuff we really hadn’t thought about if we had done it internally ourselves, which was the main reason I pushed for the consultant to be hired.”

REACHING OUT TO RESIDENTS

After finishing their study, Pyle met with the consultant group and listened to the options presented. In their research, the group reached out to major stakeholders in Prince Edward County. That included Longwood University, Hampden-Sydney College, county fire, rescue and emergency management officials, the county’s public works department and the Prince Edward County school system. They also communicated with the Town of Farmville’s police and public works department.

“Their view on it was, we know what you’re looking for but let’s find out what’s out there, and let’s make sure that what we really propose to you is going to be a robust system because we’re not building this for tomorrow, we’re building this for 15 years down the road,” said Pyle. “If you’re going to put an investment into the community, let’s make sure of what actually works for you now and down the road.”

The proposal shifted from an upgrade to a new county-wide system connecting all entities inside the county on one system. According to Pyle, the next step is talking to all the stakeholders to see if this is a feasible option. So far he’s received verbal agreements from all entities but the school system. Even if the schools do not want to be on the system in the beginning, Pyle wants the new system to be ready and able to add them. This will add an extra layer of safety and security to the schools.

Pyle plans to bring the final report from the consultant group with tentative prices and plans at the November board meeting.

“At this point, they have completed their study, they’ve given some recommendations so now we’ve kinda gotta sit back as a group and figure out what’s going to work best for the community in the future,” said Pyle.