Metropolis, district introduces new emergency radio system on Tuesday

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

The system is slated to start at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the local public security authorities announced this afternoon.

The new digital 800 megahertz radio system P25 replaces the analog UHF system that has been in use for over 20 years. The new system, which costs $ 7.7 million, enables responders to communicate with each other and with surrounding public safety agencies, including government agencies. The current system does not allow direct communication between authorities.

Additionally, this upgrade brings local security agencies into compliance with federal guidelines that require all public safety to be in compliance with Project 25 (P25). P25 is an interoperable two-way digital cellular system specially designed for public safety professionals.

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

● Salina Police Department

● Salina fire department

● Saline County Sheriff’s Office

● All fire brigade districts

● Other cities and counties

The city of Salina and Saline County both signed contracts with Motorola Solutions, Inc. in September 2020. With an existing infrastructure supporting wireless coverage, Motorola was able to accelerate the project to enable the city and county to migrate to the new system in less than nine months.

Two more tower locations have yet to be built. When completed, they will increase radio coverage to 95.5 percent nationwide. The full expansion of the system should be completed by summer 2022.

The heads of the local public safety authorities reacted to the impending introduction.

“This modern radio system will improve communications for all Saline County’s first responders, resulting in a safer community,” said Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan.

Salina Fire Chief Kevin Royse went a step further, pointing out the new way to communicate with authorities across the state.

“As a regional response team for both hazardous materials emergencies and technical rescue operations for the state of Kansas, the Salina Fire Department now has the ability to communicate with other emergency agencies across the state, but also if SFD resources are ever requested and deployed outside of the state of the state, “said Royse.

Salina Police Chief Brad Nelson noted the cooperation between local authorities.

“We are very pleased that this project is coming to fruition. The collaboration between all Saline County’s public safety agencies has been fantastic. We are very grateful for the support we received for this project, ”said Nelson.

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