Clear communication

Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden sent out a test to make sure the new digital system was up and running. After getting clear no-static communications back he hugged each member of the team that helped put it together. -Courtesy Heather Arpin

Updated June 4 

Emergency communications went digital Thursday afternoon, after the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office implemented an upgrade to its aged communications system.

Sheriff’s office employees, along with engineers and technicians that helped install the new system, gathered at the Dukes County Regional Emergency Communications Center to listen as Sheriff Robert Ogden tested the new system.

A little after noon, Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Gould informed public safety via the analog system the switch was set to be made. The confirmation that came back was hard to hear, and filled with static white noise.

After making the switch over to digital, Ogden asked for confirmation — which came back crystal-clear, causing some in the room to gasp and break out in applause.

“It’s like night and day,” Ogden said before hugging each member of the team that made the switch happen.

The switch makes emergency communications clearer and more stable, but is the end of an era for analog emergency communications. Gould, who helped with the system update, said he’ll be working to channel certain communications, such as fires and car crashes, on an analog frequency.

The new system was designed, installed, and coordinated with the help of Gould, senior engineer Kevin Carlson, senior technicians Rob Landry, Jim Palmer, and Phil Knight, all of Applied Communications (ACSi), and Tyler Keith of Leonardo Co.

The new system was installed parallel to the old analog system, to allow for the switchover to happen without the emergency communications being cut out. The old system will stay in place for a few days before being dismantled.

Updated to correct names of engineers and technicians. —Ed.