cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Washington County Police Radio System
There has been much discussion about the Milwaukee Police Department’s issues with its new OpenSky two-way radio system. The issues stem from the lengthy process of installing and then trying to track down and eliminate the gremlins that seem inherent in this system. This system is sold by Harris Corporation, and it has been the source of problems elsewhere in addition to Milwaukee. New York State recently canned a $2 billion contract for OpenSky because it simply couldn’t be made reliable enough to satisfy the needs.
Mark Belling discussed Washington County’s involvement with the Harris Corporation last Friday afternoon. He referred to the ongoing installation of the PR25 system that appears to be a sister to the OpenSky system. The Harris website mentions both in the same paragraph with the reference to the PR25 system being used where there are fewer users but where those users are scattered over a broader geographic area.
Washington County is in the process of installing the PR25 Harris system and that will eventually be installed in Germantown, although GPD Chief Hoell tells me that we are last on the list for installation. He jokingly, I think, said that it might be a very good thing that we’re last on the list.
I am told that the Washington County installation is behind schedule; it was originally scheduled to be operational in mid-2009 and that is why Germantown had to jump through hoops to remodel and rewire the dispatch area in order to be ready for the new system. Washington County has been trying to find money wherever possible that can be re-directed to the radio system project. It seems that several things were originally overlooked and that has added costs to the overall project.
The County system will eventually, in theory at least, be the system used uniformly throughout the County. It is digital and is supposed to be secure and very reliable. It is the ‘very reliable’ part that seems to be the problem in Milwaukee. The City of Milwaukee has, so far, spent some $18 million on this $14 million system, and it still isn’t a reliable system. Is the County on the same road as the City of Milwaukee? Budget overruns and missed schedules were the hallmark in Milwaukee, and now seem to be becoming the hallmark in Washington County.
Harris has had to erect an additional tower, at its own cost of $1 million, to cover gaps in the coverage in Washington County, and, oddly enough, the Motorola bid that was refused already included such an additional tower because it saw the need. I hope that wasn’t a bid trick by Harris to come in lower, but we’ll never know that answer.
Our Village fathers have had no ‘say so’ in this matter nor has anyone in the GPD. This is driven top down by Washington County. I have reached out to John Stern who is chairman of the radio committee for further information.