Baltimore Co. begins $57 million public safety radio network overhaul

Baltimore County is upgrading their outdated public safety radio transmission network. And last week, Governor Martin O’Malley and County Executive Jim Smith hailed the construction of a new radio tower as the first step towards the $57 million project completion.

“This three-year project will further improve our first responders’ ability to communicate with each other, with relevant County agencies as well as with our partners at the state and throughout the region,” Smith said in a statement.

The new interoperable network will upgrade the existing analog network to digital, improving the ability to use encryption and secure transmission and increasing the radio network’s coverage area. Baltimore County Police and Fire Department use over 6,000 two-way radios, which will either be replaced, or be outfitted with enhanced software that accepts digital transmissions benefit from the enhanced network and they will work in conjunction with the Department of Public Works by folding the DPW channel frequency into the new public safety network.

The program will also work in tandem with the state of Maryland’s efforts to build a statewide communications system for first responders, Gov. O’Malley said.

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone in our goal to implement an advanced statewide interoperable communications system – a top priority in securing our homeland for the people of our State,” Gov. O’Malley said. The two governments will be able to share transmitters and state land for the project, ensuring radio connectivity between all safety organizations, Gov. O’Malley continued.

The Maryland State Communications Interoperability Program was initiated by Gov. O’Malley last year through an Executive Order that establishes a statewide communications interoperability plan. The program will enable emergency first responders, public safety officials and all law enforcement agencies to communicate reliably, rapidly and instantaneously. According to state officials, construction of the system will take place in phases over the next five to eight years.

Related stories also include,
Miss. demos statewide wireless network, CivSource 09-01-09
Maine, Illinois and Iowa sign radio deals with Harris Corp., CivSource 08-17-09

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