95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kent County Dispatch Authority implementing final piece of digital radio system

Kent County Dispatch Authority
Kent County Dispatch Authority
Kent County Dispatch Authority

28 county fire departments receiving pagers

Fifteen years ago, the Kent County Dispatch Authority was formed. It’s mission: to consolidate the county’s 10 dispatch centers providing more effective and efficient services.

“And then last year we went live with the police and fire radios on the 800-megahertz system.”

All-digital replacing the outdated analog system. Mark Herald is Kent County Dispatch Authority Chair. He says 5,000 radios have transitioned to it.

In 2016 voter-approved a surcharge that’s funding the $25.7 million system. It operates seamlessly on a single platform. The final step is implementing pagers used by 28 county fire departments. A number of those are in rural townships with few, if any, full-time firefighters. Most are part-time or volunteers.

“And the reason the pager’s important is because they’re not all at the station. So, if a fire call comes in in an outlying township, they have to utilize the pagers to notify the firefighter when and where to go.”

Kent County’s digital system utilizes 12 transmission locations and includes two 911 dispatch centers. The digital platform is encrypted. It provides better reception, coverage and can better penetrate concrete buildings.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
Related Content