TEMPLE TERRACE - A nearly $445,000 grant will take a major bite out the city's bill to replace its public safety radio communications system.
The FEMA grant will help pay for the $1.3 million 800 MHZ system and portable radio equipment, city spokesman Michael Dunn said.
The city will receive about $278,650 for portable radio equipment this year and another $166,100 during the 2014 fiscal year to buy additional portable radio equipment.
In case of a catastrophe, major fire or crime spree, the city's law enforcement and emergency personnel want the ability to communicate seamlessly with their counterparts in Tampa, Plant City, Hillsborough County and other regional public safety partners.
The new radio system will enhance safety and improve interagency communications for the city's police and fire departments, officials said. The system the city is getting rid of doesn't permit Temple Terrace police and firefighters to communicate directly with their counterparts on the same radio frequency. Its VHF radio system is not compatible with Hillsborough's 800 MHz communications radio system.
City police officers and firefighters plan to use county-owned portable radios, mobile radios and chargers until the city's new equipment arrives.
"Moving to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office communication platform will increase the safety of our first responders and will improve the effectiveness of both departments by providing us with enhanced coverage within buildings and throughout the county." Temple Terrace Police Chief Ken Albano said in a statement. "It gives us real-time, reliable interoperable communications at the flip of a switch."
In recent years, Temple Terrace has taken a more active role to seek grants to help pay for public projects.
In the past four years, the Temple Terrace police department has received more than $750,000 in grants.
The City Council has received more than $12 million in grants through relationships it has with area governments and agencies in recent years, City Manager Gerald Seeber said in a statement.
In addition to grants, the police and fire departments has proposed selling the city's existing radio system and using some of the Hamby Estate funds to help pay for the radio system. Dovie Hamby, the mother of missing Temple Terrace resident Sandra Prince, left her estate, worth about $471,000, to the Temple Terrace Police Department when she died in 2007. Prince last was seen in January 2006.