Indiana uniting state police with wireless
- By Eric Kulisch
- Nov 29, 2000
If an Indiana State Police trooper runs into an emergency while transporting
a prisoner across the state, he might not be able to reach anyone for help
right away — chances are the radio he uses is incompatible with police radio
systems in other areas.
To correct such a problem, the state is building an integrated wireless
communication system for use by all federal, state and local public safety
officials. Five counties and cities will begin using the voice and data
radio system early next year.
"Our communications have been horrible for forever," Lt. Jeff Wardlow
of the state police superintendent's office said. He explained that law
enforcement and public safety officials are hampered by equipment that is
obsolete and covers only a small area.
The state has invested about $11 million in the program, known as Project
Hoosier Safety Acting for Everyone-Together, or SAFE-T. If the pilot phase
is successful, it will help spur additional appropriations from the state
legislature to build the system's 129-tower infrastructure backbone, Wardlow
The system is projected to cost $80 million and take three years to
complete, Wardlow said. That does not include the cost of buying digital
radios and mobile data displays. Motorola Inc. is the prime contractor for
The state is working closely with local government officials. Gov. Frank
O'Bannon sponsored several summits that brought together police chiefs,
fire chiefs, sheriffs, emergency medical providers, county emergency management
directors, mayors, county commissioners and others. The idea is not to impose
a solution but to gain voluntary participation, Wardlow said.
Agencies and departments will be able to integrate their existing equipment
or buy newer 800 MHz digital radios.
"Essentially you had every agency trying to buy their own equipment,
put up their own towers, applying for a portion of the [small public safety]
frequency spectrum," Wardlow said. "The goal is to be able to get everybody
to talk to one another, not force everybody to buy new radios."