Polk County Sheriff Office, Phase 1 of Interoperability Approved

May 20, 2012


AGENCY: Polk County Sheriff’s Office
SHERIFF: Bill McCarthy, Polk County Sheriff
CONTACT: Sergeant Jana Rooker

E-mail: jana.rooker@polkcountyiowa.gov          Office: (515) 323-5405
Cell:     (515) 333-0750


On Tuesday, March 13, 2012, the Polk County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of Phase 1 of a plan presented by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to improve the critical public safety radio communications among and between fire departments and law enforcement agencies in Polk County. A contract has been signed with Iowa-based RACOM Corporation (www.racom.net) to provide equipment, maintenance, and upgrades. Phase 1 will, for the first time, unite all of the public safety entities dispatched by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office onto a single communications platform.  This will facilitate improved radio coverage and seamless communications interoperability between the 30 agencies dispatched by the Sheriff’s Office.  The multiple current communications systems that will be replaced and upgraded in Phase 1 face several issues including insufficient radio coverage, limited channel capacity, atmospheric interference, lack of interoperability, federal noncompliance after January 1, 2013 and expiring manufacturer support.

Complete system upgrades for 15 fire departments and 15 law enforcement agencies served by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center will take place over the next several years with region-wide interoperability, superior coverage and State of Iowa ISICSB (www.isicsb.iowa.gov) P25 compliance as its goals.  Phase 1 will begin with the ordering of new mobile and portable radio equipment, bringing all partnering fire department agencies onto the same 800 MHz trunking system currently utilized by law enforcement before October 1, 2012.  In addition, storm siren and fire paging transmitters will be upgraded to meet federal requirements.  Funding for Phase 1, approximately $2.2 million, is being provided by a combination of federal grants, Polk County E911, and the Polk County Board of Supervisors.

Phase 2, the final step of the communication upgrade plan, will follow in approximately two to three years with the transition of the same Polk County fire departments and law enforcement agencies to an upgraded, IP-based, APCO Project 25 compliant radio network.  Any questions may be forwarded to Major Scott Locker, at 515-286-3333

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