Council panel approves new 911 radio system

Philadelphia is on its way to getting an improved radio emergency system.

A City Council committee this afternoon voted in favor of extending its current contract with Motorola Corp. for four years and $34.5 million.

The measure now awaits a vote by the full Council.

Though costly, the upgrade is necessary because of the system’s unreliability for the police officers and fire fighters who use it.

Councilman Frank Rizzo, the most outspoken critic of the current system and its failures, was absent at the hearing, held by the Public Property and Public Works Committee.

Councilman Bill Green questioned why there was no request for proposals issued to replace the current Motorola system, saying that may have led to a cheaper alternative. Administration officials responded that issuing an RFP now could delay necessary improvements to the system by a year or more.

The current contract expires next June, but if approved by Council in the next few weeks, upgrades would begin in July or August.

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