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New Emergency Radio System Helps First Responders In St. Charles County

First responders throughout St. Charles County will now use one emergency radio communications system, allowing them to talk to each other when responding to events.
Courtesy St. Charles County Police Department Facebook

Nearly all first responders throughout St. Charles County are now able to talk to one another.

That's because the county has finished building a new, $34 million emergency radio communications system. Before the new system was recently put in place, municipalities throughout the county had their own, separate radio systems.

"Previously, a first responder for the city of St. Charles couldn’t speak with a law enforcement officer in the City of St. Peters, so now being all on one system, they all have the ability to talk amongst one another," said assistant director of administration Jennifer George.

The county built 12 new radio towers and has equipped first responders and public works users with new portable and car radios. It also upgraded its 911 radio answering and dispatching. That's expanded coverage in spotty areas and improved voice clarity so calls are easier to hear.

George said using one radio system will help first responders better react to emergencies.

“You take the simple event of a building fire and you have a couple of agencies that all respond on scene, including law enforcement and fire agencies," she said. "This enables them to be on that scene and regardless of where they are or who they work for all being able to coordinate and talk amongst each other.”

The project was funded by more than $24 million from a bond issue and an increase in a voter-approved sales tax. Another nearly $10 million came from federal funding.

It's part of a broader, three-county approach to improve the region's response to major disasters. Jefferson County will upgrade to the new system by the end of January; St. Louis County also plans to improve its system.