Thomaston officials said it needs to replace its aging emergency communications system before someone gets hurt, and now that a plan is finally in place, the only question that remains is who will cover the cost.
The town's two-way radio system, which allows dispatchers to communicate with police, fire and EMS workers is more than 30 years old.
Town officials said it needs to be replaced and are moving forward with a plan, but hope the public will agree to pay for it.
"This is a public safety concern of mine," said Interim Police Chief James Campbell. "It's a concern I'm losing sleep over."
Campbell said the emergency two-way radio system is constantly failing, causing a huge public safety risk. He said there have been instances where firefighters in burning buildings couldn't hear radio calls to retreat.
Other times the system failed while police officers called for backup.
"I can recall two recent incidents where we had officers in violent struggles with suspects," Campbell said. "They had to call 911 to get assistance for backup."
Channel 3 Eyewitness News first told you of the concerns with the system and calls to replace it in December.
The system is 34 years old and Campbell said they can't find parts. In fact, Campbell said the department has used eBay to look for replacement pieces.
Just this month, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance approved a whole new system at a cost of just under $4 million.
Now they will pitch the plan to the public.
"I think it's needed," said Thomaston resident John DiPesa. "I don't know where the h--- they're going to get the money."
The plan is to bond the money, meaning it would fall back on those living in Thomaston.
William Busk feels if it means improving safety of first responders and those living in town, he's all for it.
"I'd much rather have a safer community and pay the extra taxes, though I know there are some community members that would disagree," he said.
The next step is to hold a public hearing at the end of August to inform the public on the plan and the cost, and then they will have the town meeting and then a vote in September.
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