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YOUR MONEY: $40 Million to be Spent on Upgrading First Responders Communication System

HADDON HEIGHTS, NJ – On Monday, Congressman Rob Andrews announced a $40 million Images-1 project to transition 37 municipalities in Camden County to a new state-of-the-art 700 MHz digital radio communications system.

In recent years, the communications system used by police, fire, and EMTs in Camden County has been plagued by digital interference from television stations located as far away as South Carolina and Massachusetts. The interference has rendered the system useless for long periods of time, creating life-threatening risks for our first responders and residents.  To address this problem, County officials upgraded to a new digital system, replacing the dated communications technology the county has used since the 1970’s and eliminating the recent interference .

County officials anticipate the new $40 communications system will provide a much safer and more efficient radio system for the County’s first responders and citizens. The project includes technological and infrastructural improvements like new radio towers and over 2,200 new portable radios for all of the County’s first responders.  Over $17 million of the project’s funding came through low interest bonds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Congressman Andrews championed in 2009. The low-interest loans provide $8.5 million dollars in interest payment savings that help to make these necessary improvements without overburdening taxpayers.

“This breakdown in communication between our first responders has been a life and death issue,” said Congressman Andrews.  “The men and women who wear the uniform of our fire, police, and EMS are the best anywhere and we were not giving them the tools they needed to do the job to the best of their ability. Now we have.  This is a welcome blessing for our community.”

Police communications throughout Camden County are anticipated to broadcast on the new system by the end of the year, while municipalities’ fire and EMS personnel successfully transitioned to the new system last month.

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