Sheriff’s department puts up new tower

Workers put the final touches on the new radio communication tower on January 9. - Ed Amaral

After three years of planning, evaluations, and studies, the new 140-foot Oak Bluffs radio communication tower has been assembled, according to a press release from the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office. Construction of the tower was completed on Monday.

The tower was funded by a $1.5 million development grant from the State 911 Department for regional public safety radio system upgrades. The Oak Bluffs Radio Communication Tower is one of five tower sites improved, rehabilitated, or built throughout the Island “in order to provide a reliable and resilient service to first responders and to the broader Martha’s Vineyard community,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

“This is a significant leap forward in the upgrade project,” Deputy Anthony Gould, telecommunicator and internal project manager, said in the release. “We have a long way to go before the Oak Bluffs site is ready to actively be used by first responders, but the raising of the tower is a monumental step toward that end.”

Installation and connection of antennas will occur in early spring. “After that, our third and final phase of funding will allow for the purchase and installation of radio equipment and distribution of user units to fire, police, and EMS,” Gould added.

“The Oak Bluffs tower represents the first ‘bricks and mortar’ leg of our critical regional public safety system upgrade to be completed,” Sheriff Robert Ogden said. “The project has overcome many hurdles over the past three years. Witnessing this tower’s completion is significant and gratifying. Our next step forward will be the conclusion of negotiations with our commercial partner, Verizon Wireless, regarding public safety access to their Pennywise Path tower location in Edgartown. I am confident we will come to an amicable agreement, allowing this vital and necessary project to move forward Island-wide.”