ONTARIO — Ontario City Council during its work session on Jan. 9 approved nearly $35,000 in funding for critical upgrades to the communication system for Ontario Police Department. If the outdated system would fail, officers would have no way to communicate with each other or with dispatch.
Ontario Police Chief Steven Romero informed the council at its work session that the current communication system being used by the police department is “pretty old, antiquated, beyond its expected shelf-life.”
He said an independent assessment of the current system was performed by Day Wireless.
Day Wireless is the contractor which the city is using for multiple upgrades throughout the city, including camera systems.
The findings of the assessment showed that the communication infrastructure is in need of an upgrade, as it is nearly five years past the recommended time for new equipment.
Romero said that if there were a system failure, officers in the city would have no way to communicate with dispatch or with one another.
Romero said, “I’m no tech guy, but Day Wireless is here to answer questions.”
Cliff Rogers, regional business manager for Day Wireless, confirmed what Romero has already stated and added, “It’s a public safety thing.”
The chief expressed the need to avoid “loss of communication” saying that the system is “running on borrowed time.”
Resolution No. 2020-103, previously presented to the City Council, is a measure to allow more funds for police radio and camera upgrades. Romero explained to the council that with the current system there is “not enough bandwidth to transmit imagery” from the new cameras without the additional upgrade.
City of Ontario Finance Director Kari Ott explained in an email message on Monday morning that the funds used to make the radio and camera purchases “are from the Public Safety Reserve Department in the Reserve Fund.”
Ott provided the quotes for the upgrades as follows: camera system upgrades at $7,163; and radio equipment at $27,570.
Romero stated in an email on Monday afternoon that he is “solely focused on repairing/replacing key portions of the entire system” as a measure to prevent total system failure.
“We are a long way away from going digital, about $225K away,” he wrote in an email. “However, if we can find funding that could pay for a full replacement of infrastructure, we will have the option of staying analogue or potentially switching over to digital.”