TRENTON, N.J. - A jack-knifed tractor-trailer and a motor home crashed in the northbound lanes between exits four and five on the New Jersey Turnpike in Mount Laurel around 3 a.m. Tuesday. One person was hospitalized while several others sustained injuries. Everyone is expected to be okay.
Imagine if all that happened and first responders didn’t have an emergency radio service? That could happen in Trenton if things don’t change soon.
"We are a couple of hundred thousand behind in our payments. And, that’s why they’re shutting down our system on October 31," Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora stated.
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It’s a hard midnight Halloween deadline and Mayor Gusciora says the city has to pay its emergency services radio vendor, MPS, by then, or lose service to the system installed in 2013. To its credit, Mercer County is helping financially, but it’s not enough.
"Well, the county is letting us use their airwaves for free. We just need to purchase the equipment. But, until we can purchase the equipment, they are lending us 133 radios. It’s just not enough for a police force that has 260 people, plus fire, plus water and public works," Mayor Gusciora explained.
Police and EMS respond to scores of calls daily in Trenton, with radios in constant use. Mayor Gusciora wants to use $4 million of the American Recovery Plan money to buy and install a new system on county air, with no subscription costs. But, Council President Kathy McBride hasn’t allowed a vote.
"It has to be put on by her. And, for some unknown reason, politically bound, she stopped it. It just does not make sense what the council president is doing," South Ward Councilman, retired officer and former mayor George Muschal exclaimed. "It’s suicide because I lived it for 40 years as a policeman."
Muschal says it’s simple – council needs to pay bills, do research and move to a new system. Emergency radio silence it too scary for Halloween. He says, put it to a vote.
"If it’s voted down, it’s voted down. If it’s voted forward, so be it. But, you’re playing Russian roulette with police, fire and the 86,000 residents of Trenton. Please stop doing what you’re doing," Muschal added.