MENOMINEE, Michigan (WJMN) – According to Menominee County 911, the Menominee County Council of Commissioners has approved a plan to replace the county’s more than 20-year-old emergency communications system.
The county began working with GCCSS Consulting in early 2020 to assess the current system and explore options for replacement. The Michigan Public Safety Communications System (MPSCS) is an 800 MHz radio system owned and maintained by the State of Michigan. The system is the second largest trunked communications system in the world, with 79 of Michigan’s 83 counties running on the system.
All law enforcement agencies in Menominee County already use MPSCS for their communications, but now all fire and emergency services will join them. Andrew Primeaux, 911 manager for Menominee County, says the system provides a long-term solution for communication.
“This proposal to join the Michigan Public Safety Communications System provides the best possible equipment to keep our first responders safe, provides a long-term solution for emergency communications, and is the best value for money for Menominee County residents, âPrimeaux said.
The county originally planned to build a new county-owned and operated VHF radio system, but the original cost estimate for the plan has tripled in addition to the annual rental and maintenance costs which have increased fivefold. The only cost to the county with the MPSCS is the initial cost of purchasing new radio equipment used by first responders and a new radio console used by dispatchers. The cost of the change is estimated at $ 2.5 million. They will purchase new portable radios and pagers for first responders, mobile radios for vehicles and a radio console for the 911 center.
Part of the funding will come from the US bailout. Menominee County Administrator Jason Carviou says the project is of great benefit to grant funding because it fits perfectly with the intent and spirit of the American Rescue Plan Act.
âThe project is directly linked to the county’s response to COVID-19, benefits the entire community and shares grant funding with all local municipalities in the county,â Carviou said. âBy joining the Michigan Public Safety Communication System, it allows Menominee County to ensure the continuity of our vital emergency services as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and any future pandemic or another disaster we could be facing. â
One of the advantages of MPSCS is that other dispatch centers can safely interface with the system. If an emergency were to cripple enough employees to the point that Menominee County 911 (Central Dispatch) could not function, another dispatch center could step in to take over temporary dispatch operations. Menominee County 911 could also offer the same assistance to another dispatch center if needed.
âAt the end of the day, it’s about creating redundancy in the system and ensuring the preservation of life and property that our community deserves,â said Primeaux.
Menominee County received $ 4.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Just over $ 500,000 of the grant is allocated as lost income due to COVID-19 in 2020, this can be used for general government services. The change is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.