Sheriff’s office receives $1.7 million grant


The Dukes County Sheriff’s office recently received a $1.7 million state development grant to help pay for the regional public safety radio system updates in fiscal year 2020.

According to a press release from the Dukes County Sheriff’s office, the Martha’s Vineyard community currently relies on outdated radio system technology. This funding will be used toward the second part of phase 1 of the project, involving negotiation of agreements to establish and construct tower sites, and develop the necessary infrastructure groundwork to connect the entire Island, according to the release. 

“What we have done with this old technology is frankly historic, I believe,” Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden told The Times. “We have transferred a 50-year-old, decaying communications system into a new system that is effective, and will benefit all emergency response personnel and the Vineyard community.”

Ogden said the first phase involves lots of civil engineering and legal steps to get the necessary radio sites cleared for construction. He said site hardening will occur over the next few months, including installation of new towers, generators, shelters, and cables. “We’ve really done our homework, and I can say I’m proud to see this project moving forward at a good speed,” Ogden said. 

Future maintenance costs will not be covered by the grant, but will instead use assessments from Island towns that utilize the radio system under the Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Communications and Dispatch Services. 

The Sheriff’s office is currently in the final stages of negotiating agreements with several entities for site acquisition, while engineering for sites that have already been secured.


  1. It is a shame none of this grant money is intended for upgrades of the medieval “House of Correction.”
    I trust oversight of this grant will insure none of it goes to upgrades for swanky new SUV’s for the Sheriff’s Dept.
    or does it simply free up other funds for yet another round of upgrades?

    • Grants of this size are typically subject to audit, James. Kudos to the Sheriff for landing the funding needed to modernize Island-wide emergency communications. It will benefit all of us. Sometimes it helps to look at the positive and not dwell on the negative.

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