Strickland says no choice but to upgrade radio systems

Strickland says no choice but to upgrade radio systems

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told city council members the city will have to spend $60 million over the next three years to replace the city's radio system.

Strickland said radios were one of the several Capital Improvement Project expenses the city is obligated to pay for that he was not expecting.

"We just need to be open and transparent about it, and then figure out how we deal with it," Strickland said.

He said there are two reasons the city needs to invest in the radio system now.

"The manufacturer that we use, Motorola, is going to stop servicing those in two years, meaning we could not get parts and cannot continue their operation."

The other reason is that the federal government is requiring high quality radios.

"Basically, the equivalent of moving from analog to digital televisions," Strickland said.

The $60 million price tag is just an estimate. The city will be taking bids soon. For now, the plan is for the $60 million to be paid over the next three years.

The money will cover 8,200 radios used by police, fire, Downtown Memphis Commission, public works, engineering, parks, animal services, general services and the housing authority police.

Plus, the cost includes upgrading radio towers and dispatch consoles.

The mayor said there is simply no choice.

"This is for fire and police, so it's not something that we can take a chance on," Strickland said.

The mayor will speak to council again in two weeks with more details on the radio system purchase.

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