ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- The Elmira Police Department is one of five local law enforcement agencies to receive upgraded Motorola communication equipment.
"For years, because we live in a valley with all of these hills, communication has always been an issue around here," says Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli.
Funded through a grant with the state's Department of Homeland Security, the purchase includes 130 new radios distributed to personnel across the county--that also includes the Chemung County Sheriff's Office, West Elmira Police, Horseheads Police, and Elmira Heights Police.
The last round of radios were purchased back in 2006. And with aging equipment, the money to purchase new mobile and portable units was a must for the safety of officers and the community.
In total, the state spent $256,729.92 on the purchase.
"Our radios were failing," says Elmira Police Chief Joseph Kane. "We've had issues with those from batteries, to antennas to simply programming."
With the new equipment comes the shift from analog to digital--it's a key component that will allow for clearer communication, despite the distance between officers.
The new units also offer additional safety features. For example, the ability to notify 911 centers if an officer is in trouble.
It's a move officials say, especially for smaller agencies, could make all the difference out on patrol.
"It's a great step forward to provide this sort of communication so they can work together, talk together, communicate together state-of-the-art," says Santulli. "We're very fortunate to get the money and provide the radios for that service."