Oakland County Working on $61M Public Safety Radio System Upgrade

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Oakland County, MI is in the process of upgrading and repairing its public safety radio communications system, entitled OAKWIN. The total budget for the reboot is $61 million and anticipated to be finished in late 2022, according to the Oakland Press.

The system, used by local police, fire, and EMS, was first installed in 2002 and is widely used throughout the county and in some parts of adjoining counties. Included in the upgrade are:

  • remodeling of 911 dispatch center
  • upgrades and repairs to 31 towers
  • over 3,500 new portable radios
  • 2,000 new mobile radios
  • an emergency activation button to portable and in-vehicle radios 

The activation button feature alone cost $1.9 million, the Press reported, and is designed to send an alert along with a GPS signal back to dispatch centers. The signal is then automatically mapped on a GIS system. The 19 county dispatch centers around the county will have access to the mapping system.

“This advanced network uses GPS satellite technology to locate first responders during an emergency,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told the Press. “Before, if an emergency button was actuated, it would not give us a precise location for that first responder, which cost us valuable time and perhaps even a life. With this upgrade, we can pinpoint the location which allows us to better serve the public while protecting our first responders.” 

Motorola Solutions has been contracted to install the $61 million system which will be financed with a mixture of $18.5 million in building authority bonds, 911 surcharge revenue, and $4.5 million in general fund dollars.  

“The new GPS option adds a high level of safety and security for our first responders by being able to pinpoint their locations,” Farmington Hills Fire Chief Jon Unruh said. “The modern digital audio logging solution permits each agency to retrieve radio traffic from a cutting-edge recording system, in many cases replacing end of life equipment that currently exists.”

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