Kenai Police Department Chief David Ross explains the purpose of a grant to be used for new radios during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Police Department Chief David Ross explains the purpose of a grant to be used for new radios during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Police to update radios using grant money

The department received almost $260,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Kenai Police Department will use nearly $260,000 in grant funds to overhaul their dispatch and mobile radio systems following the approval by Kenai City Council during their Wednesday night meeting. The upgrades will build on the department’s ongoing efforts to update the radio technology.

Kenai Police Department Chief David Ross wrote in an Oct. 25 memo to the city council that the City of Kenai applied for grants under the 2021 State Homeland Security Program. In all, about $260,000 will be made available to the department through grant awards and will be used to overhaul the department’s existing radio infrastructure.

The first grant, which provides about $84,000, will be used to continue police and fire radio replacements, while the other $175,000 grant will be used for dispatch radio system upgrades, Ross wrote.

Ross said Tuesday that the dispatch system was old technology and no longer supported by the manufacturer. The upgrades are similar to those being implemented at dispatch centers around Alaska, Ross said, as parts became less available and vendors had to look for used parts to keep the older radio models working.

The $84,000 grant, Ross said, will cover about half of the cost of replacing police and fire mobile radios, which refer to those radios inside police and fire vehicles. The upgrades will build on work in recent years to similarly overhauled police and fire portable radios, which officers and firefighters carry on their person.

Like the dispatch system, Ross said the technology used in the mobile and portable radios were becoming dated and do not meet current standards required of radios. Additionally, they similarly are no longer serviced by the manufacturer, which Ross said makes getting parts and repairs “more problematic.”

Ultimately, Ross said all of the upgrades have been mostly grant funded and will better position the city for the future.

“My hope is that we will be set for emergency services radios in the City for many years,” Ross said in an email Tuesday.

Wednesday’s meeting of the Kenai City Council can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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