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May 21, 2013

Tennessee Highway Patrol Announces New Statewide Interoperable Communications System In Use In Chattanooga District

NASHVILLE --- Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced the Chattanooga THP district is the first to use a new statewide interoperable communications system. Motorola Solutions is upgrading each district in the state to the new system that will enhance the efficiency, safety and service of troopers and the public. The Motorola ASTRO® 25 radio system will ultimately allow troopers across the state, no matter where they are located, to clearly speak to each other with the push of a button.

The radio system went live in Chattanooga on March 27. Phase one of this project also includes radio upgrades in the Knoxville and Fall Branch districts. Knoxville is scheduled to switch to the new system on May 29, one month ahead of schedule. Fall Branch is expected to convert to the system in late July, two months ahead of schedule.

“This advanced statewide interoperable communication system is a top priority in securing our state,” Commissioner Gibbons said. “By enhancing communication among public safety agencies in Tennessee, and with agencies in surrounding states, we will better serve the public. This radio system is part of our customer-focused government plan.”

The department secured $39.2 million dollars from the Tennessee General Assembly for this first phase and $80 million for phase two, which will begin later this year. Phase two will include the Nashville, Cookeville, Lawrenceburg, Jackson and Memphis THP districts. It is scheduled to be completed by 2015.

The State of Tennessee Real Estate Asset Management (STREAM) division, under the Department of General Services, is managing the multi-year project.

Replacing a structure more than 30 years old, the new radio system will provide commonality between THP’s system and the bordering states of Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. It will also offer new safety enhancements for State Troopers, such as Emergency Man-Down notification and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) capabilities, along with improved coverage and the latest in interoperable radio capabilities.

“Our outdated communications system has been a challenge for years, preventing state troopers from sharing vital voice or data information via radio with our neighboring jurisdictions in daily operations or emergency response situations,” Colonel Trott said. “This new interoperable communications system will help increase public safety by allowing us to better perform critical duties across the state.”

Some new towers have been constructed as part of this project. The department has also reused antenna sites and equipment in existing Motorola Project 25 systems operated by the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) and the Tennessee Valley Regional Communications System (TVRS). A total of 100 towers will be used for this system statewide.

The new system will also improve communications interoperability between the Highway Patrol and similar Motorola radio systems operated by Tennessee cities, including Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Jackson, and Franklin, as well as surrounding states of North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia.

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