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East End $1.1M emergency communications grant awarded

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone at Suffolk County

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone at Suffolk County Community College, on May 17, 2017. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

A $1.1 million grant is expected to improve how police and emergency departments on the East End communicate with each other during peak summer times and natural disasters, Suffolk County officials said this week in awarding the funds.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Wednesday in Southold the state had awarded the county a New York State Interoperable Communications Grant that would allow law enforcement officials on the East End to enhance their emergency communications network.

The grant will be used to add two interoperable communications sites on the North and South forks. The additional sites will be able to provide East End police, fire and EMS agencies additional coverage for critical communications during emergencies and planned events, officials said.

Funding will also be used for expenses related to mobile radio systems, training and exercises, and maintenance, all of which Bellone said were “absolutely critical to the mission of our police departments and emergency services.”

Officials will also look at adding a third communications site in Montauk for East Hampton Town, Bellone said. “We think it’s important and something we’re looking to advance as we move forward,” he said.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini and Suffolk County Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said funding for improving the communications infrastructure among the East End law enforcement and emergency response agencies was critical in protecting residents during disasters.

The loss of power on the East End from superstorm Sandy in 2012 “underscored how critical those radio systems are,” Sini said.

“Protecting and serving every single resident is obviously vital, particularly on the East End during the summer months when the population on the East End dramatically increases,” Sini said. “Now, we’ll be more prepared than ever as a result of the expansion of this technology.”

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