There is some tension along the radio waves in Norwich.
Since at least 2012, Police Chief Louis Fusaro says a low-band system has caused police radios to lose their signal and drop out in dead zones. It is an issue, he says, has gotten worse over time.
“Along the way we’ve dealt with areas where we know there are dead spots in the system by adding new equipment,” says Chief Fusaro. “That has helped, but it is not a solution.”
The solution seems to be a $7-10 million upgrade to a high-band, 800 MHz system. Chief Fusaro says he has put the request in the capital budget, but so far nothing has been done.
For residents like Ashley Koehler, the persisting problems are unacceptable. Ten years ago, the Norwich Police Department saved Christmas for the Koehler family after their house was lost in a fire. The officers invited the Koehlers to the police station and gave each of their children gifts.
“They do huge active of kindness and give back so much. The least the resident of Norwich can do is give back by protecting them,” says Koehler.
Since learning about the radio issues, Koehler has taken matters into her own hands. She’s reached out to city officials, attended meetings and has no intention of stopping.
“It’s deplorable. The city should be ashamed.”
Norwich Mayor Deb Hinchey says she has been in contact with Fusaro and was reassured officer safety is not at risk. She says the city will soon start looking into what the upgrades entail and where financing will come from.