Police radio upgrade underway

Johnstown Fire Chief Bruce Heberer, left, gives his monthly report to the Johnstown Common Council Tuesday night at City Hall. Also pictured are Police Chief David Gilbo and City Engineer Christopher Vose. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Police Department is well over halfway done with a radio upgrade project, the Common Council heard Tuesday night.

Police Chief David Gilbo reported to the council at City Hall that the police radio overhaul is going well.

“We’re two-thirds of the way through,” he said.

Gilbo said the department was able to get rid of some very old equipment, and now has a “brand new antenna.” He said city police also now have digital radios for dispatch purposes.

“Now, we’re just waiting on portables,” he said.

Elsewhere in his monthly report to the council, Gilbo said the police department in December handled 507 service calls. The month’s activity included 53 criminal cases, 26 arrests, 115 citations handed out, 47 traffic infractions, and 41 motor vehicle accidents investigated.

Gilbo provided some year-end statistics, reporting city arrests in 2019 were down by 46 from the previous year. He said the number of calls received by the police department for 2019 — over 8,700 — was “around the same” as 2018.

In another public safety report, Fire Chief Bruce Heberer said the department’s training for the year was completed in December. For December, the department handled 170 calls, which included responses to three structure fires. Calls in December also included two mutual aid calls and 30 hazardous condition calls.

Heberer reported the Codes Division issued 18 permits for projects totalling $136,782 worth of potential construction. Firefighters conducted 485 inspections in December.

Heberer said the fire department handled a total of 1,980 calls in 2019. The department responded to 1,276 EMS calls last year.

In response to an inquiry from Second Ward Councilwoman Kathi Iannotti, Heberer noted the Johnstown Firefighter’s Fourth Annual Charity Ball — open to the public — will be March 14. The fundraising event is from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Johnstown Holiday Inn.

All proceeds from the event go to the Johnstown Professional Firefighters Local 779 charity fund. This fund is used to give back to the community through sponsorships and support of community events and causes. Tickets are $20 person and are available at the Johnstown Fire Department on North Perry Street, or can be purchased from any Johnstown firefighter.

Mayor Vern Jackson also praised Heberer and the fire department with a “good job” for handling the dangerous Jan. 11 ammonia leak at the Walmart Regional Distribution Center at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.