LA MARQUE — La Marque’s police and fire departments will be testing out new radios during the next couple of weeks as the City Council narrows its options for replacing the radios for the two departments.
Police officers and firefighters will have both Motorola and Kenwood radios to test when they are in their vehicles and out in the field.
The city can spend up to $350,000 to buy new police, fire and code enforcement radios with digital radio capability.
The city is looking to replace 82 radios needed for the police and fire department. The Motorola radios would cost about $224,800 while the bid for the Kenwood radios came in at about $179,000, according to city documents. The city also received a $197,518 quote from EF Johnson and a $169,824 quote from Tait Communications.
At a council workshop last week, council members seemed to be trying to decide between the Motorola and Kenwood radios. While the Kenwood quote is the cheaper of the two, it was clear that both the police and fire department preferred the Motorola radios.
The city’s police officers have already tested both the radios once before and officers experienced multiple problems with the Kenwood radios but none with the Motorola radios, La Marque police Lt. Kirk Jackson told the council last week.
“With Kenwood, (officers) experienced a lot of dead spots,” Jackson said.
Jackson also said new Kenwood radios would be digital radios, while the new Motorola radios would be able to communicate with both newer digital radios and the older analog radios.
Both fire Chief Gerald Grimm and police Chief Randall Aragon told the council that, in their combined 80 years of experience in public safety, Motorola radios have been the radio of choice for emergency responders.
“When your life is on the line, you need to go with history and experience,” Aragon said.
Mayor Bobby Hocking said the move to buy new radios for the city’s emergency responders is part of a county and statewide push to replace older analog radios with newer digital radios.
The council could make a choice on buying the radios at its next meeting June 30 or could ask the city to put them out to bid once more, Hocking said.
At their workshop last week, the council decided to give the Kenwood radios one more test. At the workshop, the local Kenwood dealer suggested the city could retest the radios after they’d had an opportunity to calibrate the radios properly.
“I want to see Kenwood get another chance at testing their radios to be fair,” Councilwoman Connie Trube said.
Councilman James Osteen said there were several things he liked about the Motorola radios but was also interested in testing out the two radios one more time.
Osteen and other council members will be riding along with officers to test out the radios before the next council meeting.
“It means a lot for an officer to be comfortable with his equipment,” Osteen said.
Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or firstname.lastname@example.org.