Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties award joint bid for enhanced emergency communication system

05/18/2017 05:20 PM

COVINGTON — Police and fire personnel in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties will be beneficiaries of a new radio system once a newly enhanced emergency communications system is up and running by late next year in all three counties.

The Kenton County Fiscal Court, the Boone County Fiscal Court, and the Campbell County Consolidated Dispatch Board have jointly selected Motorola Solutions to design, build and implement a new 700/800 MHz P25 trunked radio system at a cost of $19.5 million.

Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann says the current emergency communications system is over 40 years old and presents many challenges.

“It’s not only beyond life,” Knochelmann said. “We are at that point today because today if we had a lightning strike, if we had certain components go down, the system would go down. There are no parts being made, haven’t been made in years.”

Initially, Kenton County conducted a comprehensive study of their emergency communications system using independent consulting firms to evaluate the current system and needed improvements.

“The input they gave back to us was that we could replace the existing analog system for a certain cost or we could do a digital system, which is obviously newest technology, at a slight increase, but it would be set up for the next number of decades,” Kochelmann said.

While Kenton County was exploring the idea, officials from Boone and Campbell counties approached Kenton County policymakers about joining their efforts to come up and help pay for a state-of-the-art system that would benefit all three counties.

“They were getting their information from outside parties as well and they said would you slow up a little bit, let us catch up, and of course that was a very reasonable request because we had an opportunity to save money as well as have a regional system,” Knochelmann said.

The P25 700/800MHZ trunked communication system is the national standard for public safety agencies, and P25 systems are being deployed in several areas around the region, such as the states of Ohio and Indiana, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Cincinnati and Hamilton County governments as well as the city of Lexington.

“Because this is digital, it’s all protected from hacking and those kind of things, but that software is something that we’re building it into our budget that it will be upgraded each year,” Knochelmann said. “We’re going to have the best as this thing develops over the years.”

The system is anticipated to be live by late 2018. The regional system will provide seamless ability to communicate among agencies across the three counties; however, no agencies or county dispatch operations will merge and each will continue to act independently.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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