ONTARIO — Ontario Chief of Police Steven Romero, at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, informed the Council of a failed hardware component in Ontario Police Department’s radio system and the emergency purchase that had to be made in order to fix the problem.
As of last Monday, according to Romero, OPD’s radio communication system failed. In lieu of a full system replacement, he opted to put out a purchase order for a replacement component and now is waiting for the installation. Romero said the cost of this fix is approximately over $8,000.
While waiting for the replacement component to arrive, Romero said that OPD is having to “borrow Nyssa’s frequency.” He said he’s grateful that Nyssa Police Department is allowing OPD to temporarily share their frequency, he would rather not have to do it.
OPD has already had to seek funding for critical system upgrades this year following an initial system failure. At the City Council’s January 9 work session, the Council approved $35,000 to be put toward these upgrades. An independent evaluation of the radio system by Day Wireless confirmed that the city’s informational infrastructure is in need of an upgrade as the current system is approximately five years out of date.
In a phone interview on Thursday morning, Romero explained why having a functioning and reliable radio communication system is so important to the city.
Romero said that the entire communication infrastructure needs to be up updated.
“It’s all going to start failing. The money hasn’t been here to stay current with the infrastructure,” said Romero.
While the most ideal scenario would be to replace the entire system all at once, the cost would be approximately $250,000 total and that those funds are not available.
Romero said that the “best case scenario” is a three-phase plan that was developed to replace major components of the system over a period of five years. Unfortunately, the most recent component to fail is called a “comparator component” and this piece of equipment was scheduled to be replaced during phase two of the three phase plan.
This hardware component “allows radio waves to interact with each other.”
“If that doesn’t work, the system cannot talk to itself. It can’t communicate and prevents two-way communication,” explained Romero.
When asked whether the latest fix will suffice for the current situation, Romero explained further.
“It’s just like anything else, it’s technology, you hope to get years of service out of them. This one is pretty old. There’s no way to know,” said Romero.
He said that most urban places replace their radio systems every five to ten years, however, Ontario does not have the money to do that.