Albion Recorder & Morning Star News

Groundbreaking held for Dispatch Radio Tower Construction

Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority (CCCDA) Executive Director Michael Armitage speaks about the value of six radio towers being on an upgraded simulcast network.
Representatives standing before throwing dirt for the groundbreaking ceremony (l to r), Calhoun County Sheriff Steve Hinkley, CCCDA Executive Director Michael Armitage, Battle Creek Police Department Lt. Doug Bagwell, State of Michigan Project Management Lead at Motorola Staci Reynolds, Deputy Director of Management Services Division from Michigan’s Office of Public Safety Communications Systems Anastasia Ferguson-Nelligan, and CCCDA Deputy Director Robert Stahelin

 A groundbreaking ceremony was held May 16 to launch the Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority’s millage-approved technology upgrade radio tower project, which includes the construction of four new towers and repurposing of two.

The ceremony was held at the site of a tower that will be built in Homer, and speakers at the event included CCCDA Executive Director Michael Armitage, Calhoun County Sheriff Steve Hinkley and Anastasia Ferguson-Nelligan from Michigan’s Office of Public Safety Communications Systems.

This project is possible due to a 2022 voter-approved 911 millage and will make Dispatch in the Calhoun County truly consolidated. Armitage shared the scope of the project: Not only will four new towers be built, with two towers repurposed with new technology, but this will complement the installation of new radios in all law enforcement, EMS, and fire vehicles countywide, which is currently taking place. All of this technology will utilize the Michigan Public Safety Communications System, powered by Motorola, which ensures that all agencies can easily speak to one another, which has not been the case. Currently, Calhoun County Fire Departments use an antiquated analog system that doesn’t have communication with many surrounding agencies. The current system also does not allow Dispatch to monitor fire department operations when on incidents such as structure fires.

Additionally, the construction of the towers in rural areas will allow for increased access to Dispatch. Currently, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responding in Homer, or other rural areas, may only have access to talk to Dispatch within their vehicles. In foot pursuits or any outside-the-vehicle response, Deputies sometimes do not have communication with Dispatch, which is dangerous for the public as well as the deputy. This new technology will solve that communication gap.

Joining MPSCS has numerous benefits for the county, including all agencies being able to communicate with one another, as well as being able to communicate with out-of-county agencies if/when appropriate. Additionally, once on the system, the state performs ongoing upgrades, which means long-term cost savings not just for Dispatch, but also for responding agencies.

With this new technology, law enforcement agencies will be on the newest standard of encryption. Fire agencies and EMS will not be encrypted.

Leave a Reply