$8.7 million approved for Super Bowl radios in Dallas

The mostly handheld, 2,000 radios are needed so Dallas police and fire-rescue workers can communicate with those from Arlington, Fort Worth and other cities


By Steve Thompson
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — The Dallas City Council gave city staff permission Wednesday to spend $8.7 million in federal homeland security grant money for mobile radios needed before the Super Bowl.

The mostly handheld radios are needed so Dallas police and fire-rescue workers can communicate with those from Arlington, Fort Worth and other cities. The funding will buy 2,000 radios.

"We need the 850 right now," City Manager Mary Suhm told council members. "They are essential for not only the Super Bowl upcoming but for other special events we'll have over the next three or four years."

Suhm said the remaining 1,150 radios will be bought in time. The expenditure comes as the city is preparing to overhaul its entire radio system so it will comply with federal standards. That overhaul will cost more than $100 million, which is to be funded in the city's next bond program.

Only council members Dave Neumann and Jerry Allen voted against Wednesday's authorization, saying they did not think that city staffers had adequately briefed them on it.

"Could we have done it better and had more radios?" Allen said. "I'm not comfortable. I do not have enough information."

Suhm apologized for not having briefed the council in more detail but said the authorization was needed immediately to be ready for the Super Bowl.

Copyright 2010 THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

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