Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes Brokers Solution To Temporarily Solve Trenton’s Ongoing Radio System Crisis

October 21, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today conducted a private meeting with Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora and Trenton City Council President Kathy McBride to broker a solution that will temporarily solve a crisis involving the city’s emergency radio system for first responders.  

At Mercer County’s Dempster Fire Academy, where the county’s 911 Central Communications Center is located, the mayor and council president agreed to Mr. Hughes’ offer to lend to Trenton 133 radios that the county has in its backup supply. By offering Trenton the use of the radios for up to six months, the mayor and council will have ample time to work through the city’s radio system problem and contract issues, Mr. Hughes said.  

The county’s portable radios are compatible with the dispatch system, and the county already handles the emergency medical technician (EMT) dispatch for Trenton.  

“This proposal is a win for everyone,” Mr. Hughes said, noting that Mayor and Council will have time to sensibly work together to conduct an open public bid for radios, award the bid and have new, state-of-the-art radios operational by the end of the year, and Mercer County will have helped to ensure that 911 dispatchers have immediate access to Trenton public safety personnel on compatible equipment and are able to keep the citizens safe.   

Statement From Mayor Gusciora on His Thursday Meeting With Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes and City Council President Kathy McBride on the City’s Emergency Communications System

On Thursday, I met with Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and City Council President Kathy McBride to discuss the public-safety radio system for the City of Trenton.

Mr. Hughes agreed to temporarily loan our city approximately 130 handheld radios programmed to the county’s radio system. While Mercer County’s radio loan is not optimum, it helps carry the city over until a new system is in place. Mercer County’s assistance gives my administration time to work with Council President McBride to work in common cause on an agreement to replace the city’s aging radio system with equipment compatible with Mercer County’s emergency radio platform. This arrangement is the foundation of my permanent proposed solution.

I am very grateful to Council President McBride, who phoned me on Wednesday afternoon. She pledged for us to work together on this critical public safety issue for our residents and businesses.

Previously, a Resolution authorizing $4 million from the city’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) fund to pay for a new radio and 911 systems did not make the docket. Council tabled a Resolution to pay the city’s current police and fire radio-system vendor, MPS Communications, for overdue invoices, an issue headed for litigation. The company will pull the plug on the city’s radio system on October 31, endangering residents and public safety personnel.

Nonetheless, I am very grateful to Mercer County Executive Hughes for meeting with us, his leadership, and his expeditious assistance. And, I wish to thank City Council President McBride for her goodwill and willingness to work together on a permanent solution.