Skip to main content

Schenectady County Public Safety Radio System Project Nears Completion

Schenectady County Legislature

$19 Million Project Improves County-Wide Radio Coverage and Inter-Agency Communications

The Schenectady County Legislature announced that a $19 million project to upgrade outdated and unreliable emergency communications systems throughout the County is nearing completion. Currently all County police agencies, 20 fire departments and 2 EMS agency have been moved to the new system. An additional 8 agencies are expected to go online by the end of the month.

In 2018 Schenectady County began consolidating the emergency communications systems throughout the County, including police, fire and EMS radio systems, which operated on various frequency bands into one county-wide system. This includes bringing a new P25 800mhz Emergency Communications Radio System online, upgrading and replacing multiple radio towers, replacing outdated street level mobile and portables for all emergency responders, and updating equipment used at the County’s Unified Communications Center (UCC) to increase interoperability for all agencies.

“When I was a member of the Rotterdam Police Department I found myself in a situation where I needed backup but was unable to communicate with my department or any other agencies due to lack of coverage in that area,” said Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature. “Our new county-wide emergency communications system vastly improves radio coverage throughout the County, particularly in areas with difficult terrain, to ensure that our first responders will never be in that situation again.”

Another former law enforcement officer who serves on the County Legislature, Tom Constantine, chairs the Legislature’s Committee on Public Safety and Fire Fighting. Constantine noted that reliable communication is essential to the safety of emergency responders and the community they serve.

“Radio communications are a lifeline for our first responders,” said Schenectady County Legislator Tom Constantine, Chair of the Public Safety & Firefighting Committee. “Better communication between our UCC dispatchers and first responders can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations when every second counts.”

County Legislator Richard Patierne, Chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Intergovernmental Cooperation, noted that the radio project is the latest in a series of intergovernmental cooperation initiatives spearheaded by the County. Other recent initiatives include the Unified Communications Center (9-1-1) which centralized emergency dispatch in 2014, consolidated bidding for municipal solar arrays that helped reduce the carbon footprint of our local municipalities while lowering their energy costs, and centralized arraignment, which lowers costs for local municipalities while keeping more officers police officers in the communities they serve.

“This project is another example of how the Legislature continues working with local municipalities to consolidate and improve services for residents while lowering costs for taxpayers,” said County Legislator Richard Patierne, Chair of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee. “At the beginning of this project one of our major goals was to fund the new radio system and equipment at little to no cost to the City, towns, villages or fire districts. I’m proud to say that we have been able to fund the entire project through grants, inter-municipal cooperation savings and capital financing. The County’s first responder agencies now have improved communications capabilities and updated radio equipment at no cost to them.”

Agencies that are currently online include:

Police Departments

  • Schenectady County Sheriff's Office
  • Schenectady Police Department
  • Rotterdam Police Department
  • Niskayuna Police Department
  • Scotia Police Department
  • Glenville Police Department
  • Schenectady County Law Enforcement Task Force
  • Schenectady County District Attorney Office
  • New York State Police
  • New York State Parole

“The County Sheriff’s Office patrols some of the most rural areas within the County,” said Schenectady County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino. “In the short amount of time we’ve been on the new system our ability to communicate within our department and with partner agencies has increased. Thanks to our County team – UCC, Emergency Management and support from the Legislature – no matter where our road patrol units are in the County, they know that they’re always connected.”

Emergency Management

  • Schenectady County Emergency Management

Fire Departments

  • Schenectady Fire Department
  • Alplaus Fire Department
  • Beukendaal Fire Department
  • Carman Fire Department
  • East Glenville Fire Department
  • Glenville Hill Fire Department
  • Niskayuna Fire Department District 1
  • Niskayuna Fire Department District 2
  • Pine Grove Fire Department
  • Plotterkill Fire Department
  • Rotterdam Fire District 2
  • Schonowe Fire Department
  • Scotia Fire Department
  • South Schenectady Fire Department
  • Stanford Heights Fire Department
  • Stratton Air National Guard Fire Department
  • Thomas Corners Fire Department
  • West Glenville Fire Department
  • Rotterdam Junction Fire Department
  • Knolls Atomic Power Lab Fire Department

“The fire service radio system that is being replaced is antiquated,” said said Scott Pike, Schenectady County Fire/EMS Coordinator. Standing up the new system will improve each agency’s ability to communicate with their crews along with the UCC at emergency scenes. It has already proven to be an asset to the agencies that are already utilizing the system.”


  • Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services (REMS)
  • Mohawk Ambulance

The County estimates that by the end of March radio communications for the following departments will be moved to the new county-wide system:

  • Delanson Fire Department
  • Duanesburg Fire Department
  • Mariaville Fire Department
  • Pattersonville Fire Department
  • Quaker Street Fire Department
  • Duanesburg Ambulance
  • Schenectady County Probation
  • Schenectady County Auxiliary Police

“The Police, Fire, and EMS radio systems that were in use in Schenectady County prior to the new radio system lacked the reliability, coverage, interoperability, and sustainability that our first responders and 911 dispatchers deserve,” said Kevin Spawn, Director of Emergency Communications and E-911 Dispatch. “I am beyond thankful for the support from our State Grant Providers, the representatives from participating agencies, the UCC/County team that worked so hard to make this a reality, and for the support and vision of our County Legislature and County Manager to make this new Emergency Communications System happen.”

Schenectady County Unified Communications Center (UCC)

Before the UCC opened in 2014, 25 fire departments, 7 police agencies and 3 EMS agencies using 4 different and independent dispatch call centers served residents.

The Schenectady County Legislature worked with local municipalities to consolidate the fragmented emergency communications system throughout the County into one county-wide dispatch center. Dispatchers answer calls and dispatch appropriate service entities for public safety and emergencies in every municipality within the County. The new dispatch system has improved outcomes while saving taxpayers money by providing one centralized clearinghouse for information permitting immediate notification.