Virginia weighs its options for new statewide multi-agency system
The commonwealth of Virginia has contracted Roanoke, VA-based Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern (HSMM) to help evaluate its current state police mobile and microwave networks, to design improvements, and to solicit and manage implementation bids from vendors. The upgrade of state networks is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1, 2006. The contract, worth $20 million, will be fulfilled by HSMM and its Lynchburg, VA, subsidiary, CTA Communications.
The Virginia State Police (VSP) currently uses a 23-year-old, 45-site, VHF highband mobile network and an 84-site, 2GHz and 6GHz microwave network. Its portable radios operate through vehicular repeaters. Most of its mobile radios are 20 years old.
The present four-channel network supports 3,235 users. Communications are maintained by reusing the channels three times across the state. The reuse strategy prevents wide-area coverage, and the large number of users prevents the addition of mobile data. Instead, VSP leases commercial telecommunications services to transmit mobile data.
Virginia has licensed 40 VHF highband channels with limited availability throughout the state as the basis for an upgrade to a trunked architecture. The four currently used VSP dispatch channels will become control channels. Virginia’s state organizations operate separate mobile networks. The state government decided that because VSP must replace its current equipment, a shared network should be built to meet the need for mutual communications. Radio frequency resources and the infrastructure cost can also be shared. The existing networks are expected to serve as the basis for an upgrade that will serve 19 state agencies.
HSMM will develop a 10-year growth plan addressing requirements and projections for 19 state agencies and for some additional federal agencies that may use the network.
Virginia wants HSMM to evaluate available technologies, including: TETRA, Project 25, TDMA, FDMA, the OpenSky platform from Amp Wireless, and linear modulation technology from Securicor Wireless. Virginia also wants HSMM to assess conventional, trunked network and simulcast architectures.
As part of its network, HSMM will use the state police headquarters tower in Richmond to test propagation and verify manufacturers’ claims. A wide-area test might also be used to collect engineering data for system design.
Reflecting the commonwealth’s interest in bringing mobile data onto the system, HSMM will develop specifications for 1,000 or more new mobile computer terminals.
VisionAIR, Wilmington, NC, has been contracted by the University of California-Davis (UCD) Police to provide an integrated CAD and RMS software package for a WindowsNT platform. The department handles all dispatching for the main campus, as well as the university medical center in Sacramento.
Rita Miller, communications and records manager of the UCD Police, said Chief Calvin E. Handy was the guiding influence in vendor selection.
“His contacts and knowledge allowed us to go out and find a vendor that could provide what we were looking for in a software package,” Miller said.
The Beaumont, TX, Police Department has upgraded its seven-year-old mobile data system to the Premier MDC mobile data system from SCA, A Motorola Company, based in Stamford, CT.
The in-vehicle mobile units will allow officers to electronically transmit offense reports to headquarters.
“Prior to purchasing this system, we tied up radio channels with voice messages and had officers on the scene longer than required due to delays with information,” Deputy Chief Frank Coffin, Beaumont Police Department, said.
The new system will provide mobile radio voice and data communications to 19 state agencies, including the Capitol Police, the Marine Resources Commission and the following departments:
Alcoholic Beverage Control
Conservation and Recreation
Game and Inland Fisheries
Mines, Minerals and Energy
The upgraded system will link the 19 state agencies with a statewide Intranet that provides access to databases and better communications among the agencies. It will also facilitate communications with vehicle-mounted computers.
A new mobile data system incorporating Packetcluster Patrol and Padcom Totalroam software from Cerulean will provide the 44 law enforcement agencies of Berks County, PA with access to crime information in their vehicles.
In the project’s first phase, Berks County will use the software’s standards-based application to wirelessly link laptop computers mounted in 100 patrol vehicles with information from its CAD system, departmental records management systems and state criminal and motor vehicle databases.