Emergency Communications Study Under Way

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – The first step in the process required to improve Oswego County’s emergency communications system is well under way.

In June, the Oswego County Legislature approved the creation of a capital project to conduct a full-scale communications system assessment in Oswego County. This week, Oswego County E-911 director Michael Allen provided the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee with an update on that project.

“The consultant has begun the process of our needs assessment,” Allen said. “They’ve finished contact with the user agencies. … The information is being compiled as we speak.”

Allen said he is also gathering data on radio usage and statistical information for 2007 as part of the study.

“It has been a lengthy process for me to compile that information,” he explained. “The information is out in bulk. I am basically looking at hundreds of thousands of records.

“There has been a lot of activity,” Allen added. “As that process is winding down, we now have to examine everything that has been collected.”

Committee Chairman Paul Santore, R-Oswego, asked if the information will be brought back to the user agencies for continued discussion. Allen explained that reports will be delivered to a committee, which is responsible for disseminating information back to the groups in their respective fields.

Legislator Morris Sorbello, R-Granby, asked Allen about the costs that departments will be required to pay for any upgrades. He noted the difficulties with that, especially for smaller departments.

“Costs continue to come up with our user agencies,” Allen said. He noted that the potential costs are unknown at this time.

“All costs will be identified before we start,” Allen said. He pointed out that the committee will be asked to determine what costs will be the county’s responsibility and what costs will fall to the user agencies.

To that end, Allen said the consultant is also tasked with identifying alternate streams of revenue to offset the costs of the communications system. He asked for the committee’s permission to write a letter to the state, specifically to officials in economic development, to try to identify funding sources.

The committee agreed and directed Allen to work with County Administrator Phil Church to put the letter together.

Allen said he expects to bring a draft document on the assessment back to the committee in February.