Chicago’s plan to update its emergency radio system is expected to cost about $40 million over the next five years, and a current contract with Motorola is insufficient to cover the full implementation of the upgrade, Office of Emergency Management staff told aldermen Wednesday. The upgrade would encrypt all calls over the city’s emergency dispatch system, preventing people from listening in through a police scanner.

The disclosure was made during a nearly three-hour hearing with the new head of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, Commissioner Alicia Tate-Nadeau, as she mainly fielded questions from aldermen about long response times for 911 calls, modernization plans for the city’s 311 system, as well as personal anecdotes from aldermen who are irritated with a plan from last year to move crossing guards from the police department to OEMC.

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