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Otsego Awarded Grant Funds for Public Safety

NEW YORK STATE—Governor Kathy Hochul announced that a combined total of $55 million in state funding was awarded to 57 counties and New York City, including Otsego County, to improve the state’s emergency communications systems and public safety answering points on Wednesday, October 25. Funding was made available by two grants under the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant Program. It will be administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and will directly support local emergency response capabilities and promote interoperability and compatibility for public safety agencies throughout the state. The programs allow the state to reimburse eligible expenses that aid localities in sustaining and improving public safety communications infrastructure.

“Public safety is my number one priority here in New York State and I’m proud to announce this year’s round of funding to enhance communication systems that help our emergency responders work more efficiently,” Hochul said.

“It’s critical [that] first responders have the equipment and infrastructure they need to maintain clear communication during times of crisis, and this funding plays a key role in these efforts,” added Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray. “Through these grants, our local partners will have the resources they need to enhance their emergency communications systems and further promote interoperability with their partners.”

Otsego County received $715,946.00 through the SICG grant and a further $173,373.00 from the Public Safety Answering Point program. Delaware County received $667,382.00 in SICG funding and $165,193.00 from the PSAP. Chenango County got $494,618.00 from SICG and $165,794.00 in PSAP grants.

Robert O’Brien, director of Otsego County’s 911 and EMS programs, said the two grants are specific to the 911 Center and the county submits for them annually.

“The PSAP grant is utilized primarily in support of personnel costs. We do set a portion of it aside to support PSAP-related expenses such as computers, monitors, UPSs, console furniture, radio software and such,” O’Brien explained. “One of the primary goals is to improve public safety communication operations and we use it for that. This grant is very important to our operations and of course reduces the burden here locally for our community.”

O’Brien said the SICG grant is incredibly important to Otsego County.

“It is utilized to support our radio infrastructure typically outside of the PSAP. Tower site infrastructure, LMR (land mobile radio) replacement for law enforcement, with a primary mission of closing gaps in interoperability infrastructure,” O’Brien continued. “Basically, the goal of this program is to improve any deficiencies that may exist in the system, whether it be the construction of a new tower site, our ability to communicate with a neighboring county, or even a local police department who does not have the funding to upgrade their local infrastructure.”

“We rely on both of these grants to be able to constantly upgrade and improve our existing systems and to make sure that interoperability is possible here in Otsego County,” O’Brien said.

PSAP is a non-competitive grant program with allocations based on a formula that considers demographics, operational scope and emergency service metrics.


1 Comment

  1. The acceptance of funding from DHS requiring inter county collaboration of emergency communications and response is an excellent start. Nothing hinders the good intentions of public funding than the use of contiguous counties for the same purpose but using different government “software” There is no reason that emergency service delivery, often critical, must be hindered by county lines. Of course, increasing coterminality to a regional approach for specific services will afford significant savings and efficiencies of scale. County collaboration brings with it excellent competency and personnel savings since everyone must speak the “same language.”

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