Eaton County considering 15 million dollar upgrade to radio system

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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WILX) - Eaton County's radio system used by police, fire, e-m-s and dispatch was built in the 70's.

And according to dispatch director Michael Armitage, it's got some problems.

“It's aged, there's periodic failures. So maybe one part of the county won't have radio communication,” Armitage said.

He says upgrading is going to make everything easier and keep everyone safer. Because in an emergency, every second matters.

"Once first responders are on scene, they need to be out of their vehicle dealing with the situation and not having to worry about whether their portable radios are going to function or not," Armitage said.

That's why for the past three years, they've been creating a plan for a 15 million dollar radio project.

They'd end up building five more huge radio towers all across the county, expanding their coverage.

"And it's also all new radio equipment in the police cars, fire trucks," Armitage said.

This new system would make it easier for them to talk to other agencies across county lines. Armitage showed off an example of a radio they’d have access to after the upgrade. He reached out to the Upper Peninsula from Charlotte.

He says the project is a long time coming, but the big problem is they're still trying to figure out how to raise 15 million dollars. They're considering a surcharge on your phone bill, which people could vote on if it makes it to the ballot.

The board of commissioners will vote to see if it makes it to the ballot Wednesday.