Fla. police radio in the home stretch

Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System

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Florida's Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) is entering its final phase to provide a single communications network for the 13 agencies involved in enforcement, officials said today.

The 800 MHz system now covers all but the northwest portion of the state, tying together more than 2,600 officers in the field. The final phase covering the last 16 counties is expected to go online this spring, at which point work will begin on replacing the limited legacy system in parts of central and south Florida.

Funding for the system came from the state and the contractor, M/A-COM Inc., with Florida paying only $40 million up front. Through the revenue sharing agreement, the company will continue to receive payments throughout the 20 year contract, while the government will receive a share of the revenue every time a third party signs up to use the infrastructure. The most recent estimation is that Florida could save almost $622 million over 20 years, according to M/A-COM officials.

Many organizations are members of the Joint Task Force on State Agency Law Enforcement Communications, also known as the JTF Board, which oversees the project. Those agencies include the departments of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Transportation, Financial Services, Law Enforcement and Environmental Protection.

The board is now working with the Florida State Technology Office to examine how SLERS could be expanded to include a data network. Officials are also looking at Radio over IP as a possible backup for the system. That technology is already in use within the Department of Corrections' Emergency Action Center in Tallahassee, Fla.

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