City of Trenton Approves Critical $10 Million Emergency Radio System Overhaul

November 15, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–During a special meeting at noon today, Trenton City Council approved a proposal to move Trenton radio operations to N.J. State Police frequencies and provide $10.1 million to upgrade the City’s entire emergency radio system with state-of-the-art equipment, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced.

The proposal gives Trenton police, fire, public works, and water utility personnel access to superior state radio frequencies and new equipment compatible with that system, including a complete retrofit of the TPD emergency radio room. The City’s 911 phone system – which is outdated and at risk of malfunction – will also be replaced well in advance of related statewide public safety mandates in the next few years.

“Trentonians can rest easy knowing that we have an agreement in place that will keep a state-of-the-art radio system online into the foreseeable future,” said Mayor Gusciora. “This year alone we’ve seen major water main breaks, terrifying storms, and criminal activity that required coordination with first responders from multiple jurisdictions. There is no doubt that this city deserves the best public safety communications system available. Thanks to these resolutions, one of Trenton’s greatest public safety weaknesses will become one of its biggest strengths.”

“With this plan, our radio and 911 system is set for the next 20 years, at least,” said Acting TPD Director Steve E. Wilson. “I’m grateful that Council allowed us to present the updated plan at today’s special meeting and that they have given their support for this crucial investment in Trenton’s public safety.”

The proposal consisted of two resolutions, both of which were approved by a vote of 4-0. One approved the funding allocation and the use of the N.J. State Police radio frequencies; the other approves a contract with Motorola Solutions Inc. to provide the new equipment.

Previously, the City of Trenton’s current radio service provider, MPS Communications, said that it would shut off service on Oct. 31, 2021, after City Council indefinitely tabled a resolution to pay MPS for services rendered. The City and MPS have since consented to an injunction halting shutoff off the city’s radio system until Dec. 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, the Gusciora Administration proposed a long-term solution with American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, starting with the police department radio equipment and 911 phone system. However, the City still needed an alternative system for Trenton Water Works and the Department of Public Works.

Today’s resolutions, while substantially more expensive that the initial proposal, will still be covered by the ARP, and will be available to all City departments. Also, the added radio room equipment upgrades and statewide coverage will be a significant upgrade for a police department that constantly works with law enforcement partners throughout the region and a water utility that must respond to customers outside the greater Trenton area.

The new system will take between 60-90 days to come online. As the plan will be covered the ARP, the City does not need to take on additional debt to fund this program.