Jun 07, 2021 8:01 PM

City, county launching new emergency radio system Tuesday

Posted Jun 07, 2021 8:01 PM

After years of planning and collaboration, the new county-wide emergency radio system is almost live.

The system is scheduled to launch at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, according to information provided this afternoon by local public safety agencies.

The new digital 800-megahertz P25 radio system replaces analog UHF system that has been used for more than 20 years. The new system, which cost $7.7 million, allows emergency responders to communicate with each other and surrounding public safety agencies, including state agencies. The current system does not allow for direct communication  between agencies.

In addition, this upgrade puts local public safety agencies in compliance with federal guidelines that require all of public safety to be in compliance with Project 25 (P25). P25 is an interoperable digital two-way mobile radio systems communications created specifically for public safety professionals.

This new radio system will service the following public safety agencies:

‚óŹSalina Police Department

‚óŹSalina Fire Department

‚óŹSaline County Sheriff‚Äôs Office

‚óŹAll rural fire districts

‚óŹOther city and county entities

The City of Salina and Saline County both signed contracts with Motorola Solutions, Inc. in September of 2020. Due to some existing infrastructure that supported radio coverage, Motorola was able to fast-track the project to allow for the city and county to migrate to the new system in less than nine months.

Two other tower sites still need to be built. Once completed, they will increase radio coverage to 95.5 percent countywide. Full system build out is anticipated to be complete by the summer of 2022.

Local public safety agency leaders responded to the upcoming launch.

"This modern radio system will enhance communications for all first responders in Saline County resulting in a safer community," Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan said.

Salina Fire Chief Kevin Royse took it a step further, noting the new ability to communicate with agencies across the state.

"As a regional response team for both hazardous material emergencies as well as technical rescue operations for the State of Kansas, the Salina Fire Department will now have capabilities to communicate with other emergency organizations across the state but also if SFD resources are ever requested and deployed out of state," Royse said.

Salina Police Chief Brad Nelson took note of the collaboration among the local agencies.

"We are very pleased to see this project come to fruition. The collaboration between all the public safety entities in Saline County has been fantastic. We are very thankful for the support we received for this project," Nelson said.