MAYVILLE - The largest grant ever received by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is expected help the county update its lagging communication system.
The county has been awarded an unprecedented grant through the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services totaling $6 million, the maximum amount. The money will be used to update the county's radio system used by police, fire and state emergency officials.
Sheriff Joe Gerace, who chairs the county Radio Communications Advisory Committee, was made aware of the grant award earlier this week. He said the radio system will be upgraded at some point this year to fall in line with new state regulations.
"This is exciting, and the fact that the money is not coming from the backs of local taxpayers is even more rewarding," Gerace told The Post-Journal on Thursday. "For the Sheriff's Office, this is the largest grant we have ever seen, as far as I can tell."
The county for years has looked into upgrading its outdated radio communication system, but setbacks and costs have slowed progress. The Federal Communications Commission required this year that all public and business radio systems be reduced, or narrowbanded. The requirement was done to eliminate outdated and inefficient technology.
The county secured a year-long waiver as it sought a new system. The grant should help bring the county in line with the new mandates, Gerace said.