SIDNWY — Motorola Solutions, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, was selected to provide Shelby County’s next generation public safety radio system. The new state-of-art system, an 800 MHz trunked, simulcast radio system that meets federal Project 25 requirements, will replace an aging VHF system.
“Most of the county’s current infrastructure is over 50 years old and the county has added to the system over the years to meet the needs of our first responders,” said Commissioner Julie Ehemann.
However, one of the more challenging issues facing the county was narrowbanding. In 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required public safety and industrial radio frequencies to narrow their bandwidth from 25 kHz to 12.5 kHz.
“While the narrowbanding mandate was intended to make the radio frequencies less congested, the result was a significantly reduced signal strength and quality,” said Commissioner Bob Guillozet. “This made our system less reliable and at times, the radio transmissions have been difficult to hear.” He also noted that repair parts are becoming more difficult to obtain for the aging equipment and that new 800 MHz system will feature a digital platform, which will not be compatible with the county’s analog equipment.
MCM Consulting Group of State College, PA led the County’s four-year effort to research and identify the best system to meet current and future needs of the County’s police, fire, and EMS agencies. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby County Engineers’ Office, all townships, villages and the Sidney Municipal Court Probation Department will be included in the new system.
The cost of new system is $7.8 million plus additional funding for system maintenance over the next 20 years. The new system will feature a five-tower simulcast system with new towers at the Sheriff’s Office, and near the villages of Anna, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center and Russia. The new towers will also provide the County with capability to expand broadband service. New mobile and portable radios will be provided to all agencies on the new system and the communications center at the Sheriff’s Office will receive a new dispatch radio console compatible with the new system. The expected date of completion of the new system is October 2023.
Commissioner Tony Bornhorst stated the Commissioners were committed to improving the radio communication system and was very excited about the Motorola system.
“The radio is a critical piece of equipment for our first responders. Motorola designed this system for Shelby County. It will provide a dependable and quality radio system that will enhance the safety of our citizens as well as our first responders,” said Bornhorst.
All three commissioners agreed that the citizens and first responders deserve the best communication system possible.