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Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Helps Launch New $42 Million Public Safety Radio System That Will Improve First Responder and Resident Safety 

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 29, 2021

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich today in Potomac helped launch the County’s long-awaited $42 million new public safety radio system, which will improve public safety communications across the County and with neighboring jurisdictions. The system has been operating since March of this year. It was deployed and will be maintained by Motorola Solutions. The new system will provide greater reliability, security and interoperability to best serve the first responders and more than one million residents. 


The radio communication system is an infrastructure project that will serve approximately 8,000 active radios with the capacity up to 150,000 radios. The system will be utilized by the first responders and dispatchers of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Emergency Communications Center (911), the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Montgomery County Department of Corrections, the County Department of Transportation and local municipalities.  


“The County has been long overdue to put in a new public safety radio system and I am glad that we were able to launch this new state-of-the-art system,” said County Executive Elrich. “The job of our public safety agencies is to be ready for anything and this new radio network makes greater collaboration and coordination across first responders possible. Whether we’re responding to a pandemic or a severe weather event or escorting a parade or community gathering, citizens can rest assured that police, fire and EMS are seamlessly connected and working together to keep them safe.”  


The video from today’s event can be seen at https://youtu.be/-bm1VqqGMIE.


Photos from today’s event can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/montgomerycountymd/albums/72157719659803110.


The new Motorola ASTRO 25 radio system replaces an aging radio network that had become increasingly vulnerable to disruptions. The network has a total of 22 antenna sites, which is an increase from 11 before the upgrade. The County now has 11 new radio sites that will provide improved in-building and overall coverage. The capacity of the system is 80 percent greater than that of the previous system to support additional radio users. Radios have been updated for compatibility with the new network. In addition, the security of first responder communications has been enhanced with radio verification and encryption. 


“The new public safety radio system is a significant upgrade and has assisted with comforting police officers and dispatchers by providing reliability of clear communications," said County Police Chief Marcus Jones. "It is vitally important to have confidence in covering all of the 505 square miles in Montgomery County for any emergency call and needed communications for everyone’s safety.  This has been accomplished, and we are grateful."


The contract with Motorola Solutions includes 10 years of maintenance and support services. The vendor was selected to build the new network based on its experience, technical expertise and established footprint for interoperable communications across the region. Motorola Solutions currently operates the Maryland First Responder Radio System Team (FiRST) statewide P25 Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system. That system was designed to provide radio communication across the entire state, as well as nearly all of the countywide systems and those used throughout the capital region. 


“This new P25 radio system will serve to enhance coverage, resiliency and our overall communications interoperability in Montgomery County and with our local, State, Federal and regional partners,” said Assistant Chief Michael Baltrotsky of the County Fire and Rescue Service. “The system ensures interoperability across many different land mobile radio types and vendors and most importantly also provides enhanced coverage over our previous radio system for critical areas such as the Potomac River, Triadelphia Reservoir and other rural areas of Montgomery County.”


Gail Roper, director of the County’s Department of Technology Enterprise Business Solutions, said: “This new radio system is built with multiple levels of physical redundancies to minimize disruptions, which ultimately ensures better outcomes for our residents and first responders. It is integrated with our computer-aided dispatch to provide features such as location awareness and will pair with state-of-the-art software for future operational enhancements.”  


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Release ID: 21-592
Media Contact: Scott Peterson, 240-255-9462
Categories: Public Safety