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August 2, 1999

Ryan Announces Initial Illinois FIRST Grant To Improve Police Communications Systems

ORLAND PARK - Governor George H. Ryan today announced a $500,000 Illinois FIRST grant for the Orland Park Police Department to upgrade its communication system, the first installment of a larger $25 million program to modernize police communications statewide.

"This is the beginning of a major public safety program that's going to benefit the south suburbs and every person in Illinois," Ryan said. "For too long, the important work of the State Police and local law enforcement officials has been hampered by a radio and data system that is behind the times. This antiquated system has put our troopers and police departments at a disadvantage in their war against crime."

The $500,000 grant is the first through Illinois FIRST to help local police departments and the Illinois State Police with a major upgrade of the statewide law enforcement communications system. The new statewide communications system was unveiled in May as part of his $12 billion Illinois FIRST infrastructure program.

"With this Illinois FIRST grant, we're taking the first steps to build a modern secure and comprehensive system that handles both radio and data communications," Ryan added. "This system is just one of the up-to-date tools that law enforcement must have in place if we're going to continue to win the war on crime."

The $25 million program will allow the replacement of an antiquated radio communication system throughout the State of Illinois. The current system has a significant number of radios more than 20 years old and made with much older technology. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission has made changes in the use of the public radio spectrum that, after 2005, will create disruptive interference for the existing radio channels used by police in Illinois.

The new, statewide radio system will replace the more than 6,000 mobile, portable radios and radio consoles currently in use. The ISP, using the statewide system, will be able to respond to emergency situations across the state in a more effective and efficient manner.


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