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Palatine Public Safety Vehicles to be Equipped with New Wireless System

The current data system dates back to the 1990’s; Verizon Wireless will provide an upgraded communications system expected to increase reliability for emergency communications and overall enhance public safety provided by Palatine police and fire.

The Palatine Village Council recently approved a bid to provide a new in-car data system to fortify emergency communications in a total of 43 public safety vehicles.

Island Tech Services won the bid to supply the in-car wireless data equipment. The company was the lowest bidder at a price of $41,052.00.

The current systems dates back to the early 1990's and a change was needed for the system to run at full potential, according to Larry Schroth, director of information technology for the Village of Palatine.

Palatine police and fire will now utilize the Verizon Wireless 4G private network, allowing for quicker, real-time updates in emergency situations, in addition to information being sought for running plates during traffic stops, and translation services for when offenders or victims do not speak English, Schroth said.  

Schroth said the current system being used is no longer supported for upgrades or repairs.

The need for change came about when Northwest Central, the dispatch system based in Arlington Heights which provides dispatch services to Palatine, started using a new Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.

“When the dispatch system updated to the new software, it could not support the cellular technology we were using,” said Bill Gabrenya, deputy fire chief for the Village of Palatine.

Information such as mapping, address pointing and information about emergency callers will not only be provided more quickly, but will also be provided through a stronger data connection, Gabrenya said.

The new wireless capabilities will be installed in a total of 43 public safety vehicles, 12 within the fire department and 31 for the police department.  

An air card, two antennaes and a laptop will be installed in each vehicle, and the software will be tied into the new cellular system through dispatch.

Schroth said the monthly charge for the data connection varies based on the amount of mega-bites used, but will range between $27 and $40 per vehicle. The system itself costs $1,000 per vehicle, and installation between $300 and $400.

While the new in-car wireless communication does benefit both police and fire, fire officials say the enhancements will be more helpful to police on the whole.

“Our benefit is more of a one-shot blast at the beginning of an emergency when information is critical as we enter the scene,” said Patrick Gratzianna, deputy fire chief for the Village of Palatine.

The new system has been tested out on a handful of vehicles over the last few months, and has proven very reliable providing even faster response times for Palatine public safety, Gratzianna said. 

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