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DuPage Launches Countywide Emergency Dispatch System

The DuPage Radio System will allow all DuPage police, fire and emergency personnel to communicate with new technology.

The Emergency Telephone System Board of DuPage County (ETSN) on Tuesday announced the launch of the DuPage Emergency Dispatch Interoperable Radio System (DuPage Radio System). 

DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said the new DuPage Radio System will allow all police, fire, and emergency personnel to communicate with each other on a daily basis as well as during any type of a public safety emergency event utilizing the STARCOM21 statewide radio network.
 
“It is imperative that our first responders use the most current technology allowing them to properly handle any kind of situation that develops throughout the county,” Cronin said in a statement. “STARCOM21 not only allows DuPage County fire and police personnel to seamlessly talk to each other, it also enables interoperability with 30,000 STARCOM21 subscribers representing state, local, and federal agencies across Illinois.”

ETSB Chairman JR McBride said the $30 million project was funded through a $2.35 million federal grant in addition to money collected through the 911 wireless surcharge.
 
“This $30 million public safety project represents the largest financial investment DuPage ETSB has made in advancing essential 911 emergency services,” said McBride.

In December 2010, the DuPage ETS board members unanimously approved the $28 million dollar contract to Motorola, Inc.
 
The DuPage ETSB Radio System consists of 3,134 portable and mobile radios and 53 MCC7500 radio consoles in nine 911 Public Safety Answering Points [PSAPs] throughout the DuPage ETSB system.  This project represents the melding of 60 police and fire public safety agencies into one interoperable radio system.
 
The contract with Motorola highlights the change in strategic direction from owning the radio infrastructure to utilizing the STARCOM21 system. The decision to subscribe to STARCOM21 was twofold: affordability and interoperability.  Leveraging the economies of scale made possible by STARCOM21, saved the County $18 million ($30 million vs. $48 million) as compared to the County's estimates for constructing its own private system.  Interoperability is an essential element during major events that demand substantial public safety resources.
 
This type of interoperability also allows for DuPage ETSB Public Safety Answering Points [PSAPs] to move seamlessly between locations if a PSAP or communication centers become disabled without jeopardizing 911 emergency communications for public safety personnel who are responding to critical incidents within the participating communities of DuPage ETSB.
 
STARCOM21 is Illinois’ statewide digital public safety radio system and provides coverage for over 98 percent of the State of Illinois. The network currently provides public safety communications for state and local public safety agencies.  The STARCOM21 network is a public-private partnership between Motorola Solutions and the State of Illinois.
 
Jack Molloy, regional vice president, North America Government, Motorola Solutions, said “Motorola Solutions is proud to work together with DuPage County on the radio system initiative.  The new radio system will provide regional interoperability for DuPage County and bring economies of scale to the DuPage County radio users.  We just witnessed this with the recent success the radio system played in helping DuPage County support the Ryder Cup.”
 
The DuPage Radio System was operational and utilized for the County’s hosting of the 39th Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club in September 2012.  All police departments that are members of DuPage ETSB that participated in the NATO conference events or activities in May 2012 also utilized DuPage Radio System portables to ensure seamless coverage and interoperability.  In addition, 60 portable radios were utilized for the visit of President Hu Jintao of China during his January 2011 tour of Chicago and Woodridge.
 
Hinsdale Police Chief Bradley Bloom, whose department is currently using the new radio system, said this is the biggest improvement in the past 30 years for law enforcement’s ability to properly respond to both a localized or large-scale emergency.
 
“When it comes to public safety, communication is everything.  Prior to having the implementation of this radio system, we had 32 disparate radio networks and officers couldn’t always communicate across jurisdictional lines. Today, not only can public safety communicate anywhere in the county, but we have also dramatically improved our ability to communicate during a multi-jurisdictional public safety response,” said Bloom.
 
Oak Brook Police Department is one of the agencies currently using the STARCOM21system.
 
“The men and women of the Oak Brook Police Department will provide the community with the highest quality of law enforcement services, preserve and protect the lives, property and constitutional guarantees of all persons with a commitment of professional excellence through loyalty, honor and teamwork,” said Jason Cates, deputy chief of the Oak Brook Police Department.
 
The STARCOM21 radio system launched by ETSB has also been commended by local officials such as DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference President Rodney Craig.
 
“Congratulations to the true beneficiaries of this system: the citizens who are protected by the more than 3,300 first responders who will utilize this network.  A job well done with hard work and dedication by all the groups represented on the ETS Board,” said Craig.
 
ETSB member and Addison Village Manager Joe Block said collaboration was key to ensuring a new radio system that worked for all of the involved agencies.
 
“The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, led to this collaborative effort that has involved 60 public safety agencies in DuPage County. The DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference is proud to have been a part of the team that spearheaded the biggest advancement in public safety in the last 25 years,” said Block.

Information courtesy of a press release from DuPage County.

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