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December 22, 2000

Governor fulfills pledge to start uniform public safety network

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the Illinois FIRST Program will provide $25 million for a new statewide police radio communications system to improve public safety.

The Illinois FIRST grant to the Illinois State Police will purchase new radio equipment to use the new Starcom21 wireless state radio system. The state will lease time on the new network to be constructed by Motorola, the vendor selected after a competitive bid. Starcom 21 will replace the Illinois State Police Department's outdated and inefficient communications network and will allow other public safety agencies to communicate directly via state-of-the-art wireless technology.

"The current system is aging, fragmented and unreliable. With the help of Illinois FIRST, we're able to utilize cutting-edge technology to make sure that public safety agencies have the tools they need to get the job done and protect our citizens," Gov. Ryan said.

Competitive bidding, a multi-state agency review, and an independent third-party evaluation of the bids all recommended Schaumburg-based Motorola implement the Starcom21 system. Motorola has a long history of providing voice communications systems to government agencies and the private sector. Negotiations will now begin on final contract terms.

The new statewide radio system will be phased in over three years. It will be capable of accommodating other federal, state, county and local public safety agencies on the leased network. For the first time Illinois public safety agencies at all levels of government will have the opportunity to participate on a common radio system allowing them to communicate directly.

"Our vision for this new system would make it possible in emergencies for federal, state, county and local police and public safety agencies to communicate directly with each other, and that will save lives," Illinois State Police Director Sam Nolen said.

The new, leased radio system will offer an attractive option to counties and municipalities also faced with aging, outmoded police and public safety radio systems. Those agencies will now be able to participate without the cost of establishing their own radio networks.

Last year, in Gov. Ryan's State of the State address, he pledged to improve the Illinois State Police Department's outdated communication networks.

"The new radio system will help our police officers who are combating gangs, guns, and drugs and improving highway safety," Gov. Ryan said. "This system will help us serve our citizens more efficiently, and protect our public safety officers."


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