Pa Governor Releases Results Of Statewide Radio System Review
Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell has published the findings of an independent assessment of the Statewide Public Safety Radio System. Although concerns exist about the effectiveness of the system’s set-up, “the commonwealth is committed to providing the resources needed to complete the radio communication project as recommended in the iXP report,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Adrian King.
The Statewide Public Safety Radio System takes the place of several mismatched mobile radio systems currently used by agencies and is intended to allow communication when cell phones and land lines stop working. The 800 MHz system will support wireless data and voice communications, but would not be the primary system for first responders and most local governments, according to Information Technology Deputy Secretary Art Stephens, adding that there is no unfunded mandate for local governments to participate in the system.
At present, more than 4,000 users rely on the radio system and “the capability exists of handling” up to 25,000 users, said Stephens.
Problems that still need to be addressed include not yet reaching the goal of 95 percent coverage (by county), site acquisitions, and construction, says Stephens, with 18 tower sites still needing to be built out of a total of 201 tower sites. All tower sites are expected to become operational by March 2005, when coverage should reach about 82 percent.
Local governments can gain access to infrastructure of the radio system if they want to replace their current system, if the state system has the capacity, and if the move benefits taxpayers.
The Rendell administration has also pledged to align the needs of state police with the system, create a special implementation team, and form an Interoperability Advisory Board.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from Government Technology (09/15/04) .