Mattapoisett Police requests funds for radio frequency fix

Nov 8, 2018

MATTAPOISETT — The Mattapoisett Police Department hopes to take their radio frequency digital, but needs town meeting approval for funds first.

At a Nov. 8 Board of Selectmen meeting, the board heard from Police Chief Mary Lyons on article seven, which appropriates funds for upgrades to a joint Mattapoisett-Acushnet-Fairhaven radio frequency.

Lyons described the current analog system as antiquated and noted that it has gone down a few times.

Last year, Fairhaven acquired $200,000 to upgrade their system, but the funds have to be used within two years, meaning by the end of the fiscal year this year. Acushnet has devoted $130,000 to the project. 

Though the selectmen agreed that the time to act is now, Paul Silva asked if the three police departments had been able to test the digital system for failures.

He and the other board members noted that if analog signal has issues responders can still transmit information, even if it is low quality, but if digital signal drops it is impossible to transmit anything.

Lyons explained that even if the digital system malfunctions in one town, the other two towns would still keep the network running.

When asked if Mattapoisett would opt for a private channel, Lyons responded that they would not.

“Being able to communicate with the other departments is helpful,” she said, noting that the three police departments frequently help one another out.

Though the board planned to allocate Lyons $120,000 for the upgrades, she said that it would be easier to complete upgrades with $150,000. The board responded that it would see how other funds were allocated during the meeting, and give the police department more funds if possible.

The board approved the warrant for the Special Town Meeting, meaning the issue will come up as article seven on Nov. 26.