Riley County’s first responders hear a brand new radio system

RILEY CO., Kan. (WIBW) – Riley County’s emergency services can now hear calls more clearly.

A nearly 5-year-old project to improve emergency radio communications for first responders was launched Thursday, according to Riley County Emergency Management. It was upgraded to a new P25 radio system to improve public security throughout the county.

“The coverage is phenomenal compared to what we have now,” said Pat Collins, director of business continuity management. “We’re looking at less than 50% of the county for prior radio broadcast. Our preliminary tests show 97.1% coverage in the county and 3 miles outside the county per contract. “

RCEM said it previously used a very high frequency system before switching to the 800 megahertz digital system. The upgrade protects private information and sensitive data with secure encryption, and unauthorized users will not have access to certain radio traffic sent by emergency services.

“First responders are the front line of domestic responses to destructive acts, traffic accidents, structural fires, and natural disasters. The ability of first responders to communicate securely is critical to planning and responding to these types of incidents, while radio relaying critical information to communication centers and the hospital, ”said Erin Freidline, Riley County Police Department captain. “With the new system, first responders can communicate more efficiently between agencies and at the same time react to active incidents.”

According to Collins, the base price for the upgrade was around $ 5.2 million, with the cost of radios, towers, and 15 years of maintenance higher.

According to RCEM, the County Commissioners signed a purchase agreement in 2018 to fund the basic cost of upgrading the radio system.

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