Delaware County is ringing in the new year with $4.6 million in additional funding by way of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to improve its aging 911 system.
Delco’s 911 center, which fields more than 600,000 calls a year and operates 24/7, has been strained by infrastructure issues that have occasionally tanked communications among first responders.
At a December press conference in Middletown announcing the funding alongside county officials and local lawmakers, State Rep. Leanne Krueger (D-161) recalled a time where the emergency communications system failed.
“I’ll never forget the day that I walked into a community event in Brookhaven and fire chief Rob Montella pulled me aside to tell me how the radio system had gone down county-wide just that morning. They were trying to go out on fire calls but they couldn’t actually communicate with each other — because Delaware County’s radio system is broken,” Krueger said.
Krueger and about a dozen other area lawmakers began meeting with the state officials in May to secure additional funding from Harrisburg.
“We knew that the system needed to be upgraded and the capital that was required to support a project of this particular magnitude. Although this building is located outside my district, and that of many of the other Delco elected officials, we all knew it would take a concerted effort from us to secure the funding that was needed,” said State Sen. Tim Kearney (D-26).
Timothy Boyce, the director of Delco’s emergency services, called the grant a “tremendous achievement” that would lead to better services for residents.
The project will include redeveloping existing radio transmission sites and adding towers to prevent a future loss of service. Community members can also expect tower upgrades, shelter structures, and more 911 center equipment to improve communication in emergencies.
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