Motorola Solutions was chosen to implement the first phase of a statewide radio system in Tennessee that would bring new capabilities to state troopers and improved mutual aid coordination, according to officials.
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott made the announcement Monday.
The department secured $39.2 million from the Tennessee general assembly for phase one of the project, which will be utilized for radio upgrades in highway patrol districts in Chattanooga, Fall Branch, and Knoxville.
"The implementation of this advanced, statewide interoperable communication system is a top priority in securing our state," Gibbons said in a statement. "It will ensure better communications among public safety agencies in Tennessee and with agencies in surrounding states."
Replacing a structure more than 30 years old, the new radio system will provide commonality between highway patrol's system and the bordering states of Kentucky, 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.
"The lack of an adequate and reliable communication system has been an issue for our agency for decades," Col. Trott said in a statement. "We were unable to share vital voice or data information via radio with our neighboring jurisdictions in daily operations or emergency response situations. The new system will enhance the ability of troopers to perform critical duties across the state."
Reusing 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) will eliminate the requirement to build duplicate systems. The new system will also improve communications interoperability between the highway patrol and similar Motorola radio systems operated by Tennessee cities such as Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Jackson, and Franklin.