System Overview

The Montgomery County Radio System is a Motorola state of the art ASTRO P25 compliant digital communications system. It consists of 5 tower sites strategically placed throughout Montgomery County to provide the best possible communications coverage. It is configured as a simulcast system to maximize RF channel efficiency. Each site has its own backup generator. The system is functionally part of the TX-WARN Regional Radio system to facilitate interoperability and wide area coverage but can operate in Site Trunking mode should there be issues with the wide area system. Each tower site is connected via microwave and telephone company T1 for redundancy. Much care and effort has been placed into the design of this system to assure reliable communications on a daily basis as well as redundancy and survivability during hurricanes and potential disasters.



Interoperability is an important issue for law enforcement, fire fighting, EMS, and other public health and safety departments, because first responders need to be able to communicate during wide-scale emergencies. Traditionally, agencies could not exchange information because they operated widely disparate hardware that was incompatible. Agencies' information systems such as computer-aided dispatch systems (CAD) and records management systems (RMS) functioned largely in isolation, so-called "information islands." Agencies tried to bridge this isolation with inefficient, stop-gap methods while large agencies began implementing limited interoperable systems. These approaches were inadequate and the nation's lack of interoperability in the public safety realm become evident during the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center structures. Further evidence of a lack of interoperability surfaced when agencies tackled the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

The Department of Homeland Security will partner with agencies in several locations, including Silicon Valley. This program will use case studies to identify the best practices and challenges associated with linking CAD systems across jurisdictional boundaries. These lessons will create the tools and resources public safety agencies can use to build interoperable CAD systems and communicate across local, state, and federal boundaries.