$19M equipment upgrade takes some Butler County officials by surprise

In this 2016 file photo, a Butler County dispatcher works in the Butler County Sheriff’s dispatch center. Some government officials in Butler County have said they were taken by surprise when learning it will cost $19.2 million to replace emergency communication equipment. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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In this 2016 file photo, a Butler County dispatcher works in the Butler County Sheriff’s dispatch center. Some government officials in Butler County have said they were taken by surprise when learning it will cost $19.2 million to replace emergency communication equipment. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Some government officials in Butler County were taken by surprise when they learned it will cost $19.2 million to replace some emergency communication equipment.

The 800 MHz radio system cost $37 million to implement in 2009, and now Motorola has stopped making the radios and will stop servicing the devices in 2019. It will cost the county and local jurisdictions $12.5 million to replace the radios alone.

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In Liberty Twp., where the fire department has 57 radios, it could cost almost $300,000 to replace all the radios.

“Since we just heard of this the other day, it was something new,” Liberty Twp. Trustee Board President Christine Matacic said. “I had heard rumors they were looking into what might be available. But the commissioners had never communicated to us what they were thinking.”

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The commissioners have not had any formal discussions about the equipment replacement to date.