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Jackson mayor reports upgrades have improved public safety efforts

JACKSON – Mayor Michael Reina is reporting that more than a year after a $5.9 million
upgrade to Jackson’s emergency response communications system went live, the municipality’s police officers, firefighters and first responders are reporting significant improvements in the technology system that connects residents with emergency services and first responders.

“Effective public safety begins with effective technology and communications systems,” Reina said. “An investment in this type of technology is an investment in the public’s safety. That’s the bottom line.

“Now, after a full year of hands-on experience with this new system, I am happy to report that our police, fire and EMT officials are reporting better overall communications coverage of Jackson’s 100-plus square miles, fewer calls lost or interrupted due to old technology and, very importantly, seamless radio connections with county and local government agencies,” the mayor said.

The new Motorola 700-megahertz (MHz) system modernizes the entire emergency response communications system from the previously used 500-MHz network; a move being undertaken by public safety agencies across the country, as required by
the Federal Communications Commission, according to a press release from the township.

The township’s upgrades include new police department radio hardware and software, dispatch center equipment, police handheld- and car-based radio equipment, as well as new handheld radios for Jackson’s Department of Public works and code enforcement, according to the press release.

As part of the system upgrade, two new radio towers were installed, both exclusively as part of this project.

The Larsen Road tower and the Patterson Road tower were completed during 2020. Each tower stands 180 feet tall.

As part of the overall initiative, Jackson’s fire companies and EMS squads purchased their own communications equipment, but both use the township’s radio towers to access all local and county emergency channels, according to the press release.

Planning for the upgrades began in 2019 and the system became fully operational in the middle of 2021.

The mayor and Township Council reported additional investments in public safety:

• Adding more police officers: In recent years, the Jackson Police Department has been adding officers steadily with a goal to bring the full force up to 114. Six additional officers are expected to be hired in the near future;

• Investing in essential equipment: Municipal officials have invested in additional essential police equipment in recent years, including new body armor, Taser equipment, vehicles and license plate readers;

• Securing professional accreditation: In August 2021, the Jackson Police Department achieved accreditation through the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, a significant professional achievement which acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.

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