Newnan public safety will switch to digital radio systemBy JOHN A. WINTERS
Newnan public safety personnel will be moving over to the new digital radio system currently being used in the rest of Coweta County.
Total cost is approximately $1 million for the 700mhz system. Half of the funding will come from the 2013 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and the other half will come from condemnation funds — money seized by police from drug transactions and other illegal activity.
The money will cover training, implementation, a prorated expense to tie into the county’s existing digital radio system and purchase of about 180 radios, according to city officials. About half the radios will go to the police department, with the remaining going to the Newnan Fire Department and Public Works department.
“It will just put us back into quicker communications with the (Coweta County) Sheriff’s Office,” Newnan Police Chief Buster Meadows said. “We just need to move up to a better system.”
Last year, the rest of the county, including the sheriff’s office, Coweta 911, Coweta County Fire Department and other agencies switched over from the old analog system to the digital one.
Under the analog system, all departments had to share a main frequency. That created a potential problem if several emergencies all happened at once, like a traffic accident, a fire and/or a robbery, because safety personnel would have to wait their turn or talk over each other.
The new system will give each department their own frequency. In addition, each of those frequencies will have sub-frequencies, or trunks. That allows the fire department, for example, to send out units to one fire over the main frequency and then transfer them to a sub-frequency for communications, thus freeing up the main line for other calls.
As part of the move to the new system, the Newnan City Council on Tuesday approved an $8,100 contract with Engineering Associates Inc. to set up three new frequencies for the changeover.
“The 700mhz system has proven to be very reliable and a benefit to public safety agencies of Coweta County,” said Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips. “With Newnan moving to this system it will provide better communications between city and county agencies thus enhancing public safety services to all our citizens.”