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County to move to new communication system

Sheriff Mark Falk Tuesday asked the commissioners for a resolution indicating the county’s intent to participate in a new communications system. The Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response, known as ARMER would include Cook County in a pool of 66 other counties.

Falk said that by joining ARMER, the county would experience among other advantages, statewide interoperability. In short, in cases of emergency, Cook County would be in touch with other public safety agencies and able to fully network with them. Interoperability would avoid many of the communications problems experienced during the Ham Lake fire.

ARMER is expected to cost the county $1.4 million in initial capital investments with a total cost of $2.5 million over 10 years. The bulk of the ARMER operating expenses would be borne by the state. Falk said capital and other grants are available to help offset equipment costs. Falk added that new radio tower construction as a result of being part of ARMER, could facilitate additional cell phone service.

The county board approved moving ahead with the project. ARMER will meet Federal Communications Commission narrowband requirements for government and public safety agencies, which need to be implemented by 2013.