This evening the Toms River Council approved an $8.7 million upgrade for the Toms River Police Department (TRPD). This is the first part of a projected multiphase overhaul of the town's emergency transmission infrastructure. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) notified Toms River in 2020 that they would be claiming their current communications frequency for its own transmissions by the end of this year. 

Apart from the troubling earlier projected total of $12-$15 million, the switchover is further complicated by the inflation we currently face in the market. From a practical perspective, emergency communications can not go down for even a moment during the entire construction and transfer to the new system. The Council previously considered merging with the Ocean County communications board for local dispatch and emergency services, as some townships do. However, this type of shared service agreement works for smaller townships in cases of need. Toms River, a well developed township with over 65,000 to 75,000 calls for service annually, doesn't fit that profile. Also, merging with the county would still require replacement of three towers. Toms River was able to appropriate other monies for part of the bill, softening the financial blow. 

After close to 50 years of use, the current system is due for an upgrade.  Officers already lose signal inside certain structures around the township, complicating their job and degrading the safety of all involved. In addition to improving emergency communications, the Toms River DPW will also utilize the new communications system to track and manage their vehicles as they move through the streets.