As Lapeer County seeks to make a move to join the MPSCS, several of our neighbor’s have already made the move.
Macomb, St. Clair, Saginaw, Shiawassee & Genesee Counties have already migrated to the MPSCS leaving behind their antiquated analog systems. Bay County is in the process of making the switch to the MPSCS while Tuscola, Sanilac and Huron Counties are seeking to move to the MPSCS just as Lapeer County is.
Oakland County started to build their own digital radio system in 2002 and due to the many PSAPs in the county and the original company they hired to build their system being bought out a couple of times, the system is not yet fully online.
Just as cell phones and television have changed to digital so are the commercial manufacturers of public safety radio systems. Even broadcast radio is starting to change to digital with the option of HD radio.
As mentioned in another post, the need for the radio system isn’t a matter of “going digital,” but rather “in need of replacement.” A digital system is just what is available on the market now.
As certain components are no longer supported by the manufacturer, parts will be difficult at times to come by. Those parts that can be found aren’t new parts; they’re used and not even refurbished in many cases. Lapeer County received several vehicle radio modems from Saginaw County for free recently and they are older models than the ones Lapeer is using. Because they’re older than our system, we’ve secured a grant to purchase a firmware upgrade to bring them to the version we’re using. Once that is finished, we’ll test the VRM’s to see which ones will work and which ones won’t. The working ones will be handed over to departments in Lapeer County that have need of them.
As the need for parts comes along, the more that ends up breaking down, the more out of pocket expenses we’ll incur. There will come a point that the system will start to “nickel & dime us to death.”
It has been said that 95% of 9-1-1 centers are analog based. While that is likely true, those analog systems are getting very old just as Lapeer County’s is. When those centers go to replace their analog systems, they will be purchasing a digital one.