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The new communications center at the Bedford Public Safety Complex will allow for more robust and seamless communication between various public safety agencies. (HENRY METZ/Union Leader Correspondent)

Bedford's updated dispatch center adds new functions

BEDFORD - Public safety officials Tuesday unveiled the new dispatch center at the police department that will make previously cumbersome communications among various local and state agencies much smoother.

The center will combine the communications functions of the EMS, fire and police departments, and will also allow public safety officials in Bedford to communicate seamlessly with officials in Goffstown and New Boston.

"This involved a lot of federal money from Homeland Security," said police Lt. Scott Plumer. "We're able to now be a backup (communications center) for a lot of regional agencies."

Plumer said money for the communications center came from a $154,000 New Hampshire Homeland Security grant coupled with a $154,000 appropriation from the town's capital improvement program fund.

The ability to change frequencies is a major benefit of the center. "Whereas before we only had one frequency," said Plumer, "now we're able to communicate with other jurisdictions simply by changing frequencies."

Communications specialist Al St. Aubin said the center also gives him and other communications specialists within the department the ability to perform multiple functions simultaneously.

When a 911 call comes in, the system can automatically determine whether it's a land line or, if not a land line, it can determine the location of the cell tower closest to the caller. It also enables information to be communicated regarding outstanding warrants or the status of a driver's license. The system will also incorporate a Google mapping link that will allow police and fire officials out in the field to pinpoint specific locations in an emergency.

The system also provides communication specialists the ability to have video surveillance of every important area in and around the public safety complex, and to lock holding cell and other doors within the police department remotely.

The Homeland Security money and the CIP appropriation are also paying for repeater towers to be relocated and added to the communications network. Plumer said the repeater tower at Macy's on River Road will be relocated to the top of the Station Road cell tower, and a second repeater will be located on Route 101 east, atop the cell tower across from Bedford Fields. A third will be located at the New Boston Air Force Tracking Station.

Each of the repeaters will have what are called "microwave links," allowing for "direct communications without interruptions," explained Plumer.

Police Chief John Bryfonski said the network will allow for "much more robust communication" among multiple public safety entities. "It's a step from the 20th Century to the 21st Century," Bryfonski said.

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