Broward County Commission Votes To Proceed On 911 Update Without Hollywood Radio Tower

Sep 24, 2019

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:56 p.m. to include a comment from the City of Hollywood. 

Parts of southeastern Broward County – including Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Dania Beach, Pembroke Park and West Park – may not get a 911 radio tower as part of the new countywide update to the emergency communications system.  

Broward County Commissioners voted unanimously to give County Administrator Bertha Henry the power to change its contract with Motorola to install the new P25 emergency radio system with 15 towers, instead of 16.

The Broward County commission agreed in May 2017 to spend more than $60 million to upgrade its public safety radio system to the P25 system. It uses a different frequency that can handle more users at the same time.

Read more about the history of Broward County's 911 system and plans for the new one: Broward County Commission To Vote On Hollywood Park As Site For New Radio Communication Tower

The system was purchased shortly after the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport, which killed five people and injured six others. But it had been under consideration for years before that because the current system reached its full potential in 2002, according to the county.

Under the county's Tuesday decision, Hollywood's current 911 radio signal coverage would remain the same as the rest of the county upgrades. 

A letter from Hollywood's City Manager to the county reads in part, "This unwarranted action potentially puts at risk the safety and security of first responders and residents throughout southeastern Broward County."

City of Hollywood communications manager Joann Hussey added in an email to WLRN that "the City of Hollywood stands ready to provide the support to ensure all of Broward County is covered by the new P25 system – as it should be." 

Read more: Hollywood Commissioners And Residents Outraged Over Broward County's 911 Radio Tower Deals

In a memo, the county cited the long construction timeline at The Circ and threatened lawsuits over the West Lake Park option as its reason to move on without the 16th tower. 

The county said it may eventually include a 16th tower once there's a "clear path" to a good site.

Read the memo here.