Greenfield to launch new emergency communication system

GREENFIELD (WITI) -- The city of Greenfield is getting ready to launch a new emergency radio system -- and it taxpayers didn't have to foot the bill.

In any major emergency, communication is vital and can save lives.

Greenfield Police Sgt. Sean Licht says the current communication system is old and outdated.

"Getting parts for the aging system has been more difficult. We've had some dropped calls," Sgt. Licht said.

Starting January 27th, the new system will launch -- after about six months of work.

The city of Greenfield secured a $550,000 grant from Homeland Security to move into the Wisconsin System for Interoperatable Communications.

"It's a digital system now as opposed to analog -- higher digital quality. We're no longer in the radio business," Sgt. Licht said.

For years, Greenfield was responsible for not only maintaining and replacing radios, but also its entire system. Soon, the state of Wisconsin will operate and maintain its WISCOM system with no additional cost to taxpayers.

In fact, it will save Greenfield taxpayers nearly $50,000 a year.

"The main thing that always seems to break down is communications because everybody is on a different radio system, everybody is scrambling to find a channel so everyone can talk and communicate with one another," Sgt. Licht said.

He says the interstate communication could be the vital time saver in the event an agency needs backup.

"Where as here if everyone's on the system they have the WISCOM talk groups and we can communicate," Sgt. Licht said.

That communication is not just heard in Greenfield -- but statewide.

"One of our officers could get in their squad now, drive up to Superior, Wisconsin and we can get on here and talk to them and sound like they were right next door," Sgt. Licht said.

The city also had been setting money aside for new phones. That money came from a savings account and Greenfield police said the city had anticipated its emergency system changing.