PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – March 23, 2021 – The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) today officially activated the county’s new public safety communications system. The new 800-megahertz P25 digital communications system replaces the county’s 25-year-old system to provide enhanced radio coverage and interoperability for the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, fire departments, rescue squads, and county government agencies.
“The vital importance of radio communications for emergency personnel cannot be overstated,” said BOCC President Earl F. “Buddy” Hance. “This new system will provide a new level of safety and service that our citizens and first responders deserve.”
“The old system has served us well, but we are excited for the increased coverage and capabilities that the new system provides,” said Public Safety Director Jackie Vaughan. “In addition, Calvert County will maintain full control of the entire system, including the new towers and radios, and the technology is protected against obsolescence so we can expect this new system to serve the needs of our citizens and first responders for the next 20 years.”
A $21.4 million contract was awarded to Motorola Solutions, Inc. in early 2016 and was the largest single contract Calvert County has ever awarded.
Tower construction and equipment installation began in 2017 and system testing began in 2019. Five existing towers were replaced, four new towers were constructed and communications equipment was installed on other existing structures throughout the county.
With a total of 15 sites, the new system provides more reliable in-building coverage, increases the number of available communications channels from five to 10, and provides 1,200 new mobile and portable radios to first responders and public safety personnel.
The system is also designed to enable police and fire departments to better communicate with other local, state and federal agencies when a multi-jurisdictional response is required.
In addition to 20-year maintenance and life cycle protection, the system comes with new features, such as GIS mapping with automatic emergency personnel location and “man down” emergency alerts.