Nevada public safety radio system gets OK | nnbusinessview.com

Nevada public safety radio system gets OK

Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

The Nevada transportation board chaired by Gov. Brian Sandoval on Monday approved an agreement with Harris Communications to build the long-awaited statewide shared radio system.

The 800 mega-Herz radio system is designed to allow law enforcement, public safety workers, utility workers and others to communicate with not only their own agency but all other agencies.

"In Southern Nevada, if we have a trooper standing next to a metro officer, will they be able to talk to each other?" asked Sandoval.

Denise Inda, the engineer who managed development of the agreement, said yes, that complete inter-operability is a key requirement of the projects.

The system is being paid for by the three main partners — the Nevada Department of Transportation and NHP, Washoe County and NV Energy.

But many details of the project, including the total price, are being held confidential until the agreement is executed by all the partners and Harris Communications.

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Sandoval said that confidentiality, including company proprietary technical information and the price, is mandated by statute.

"I'm relying on the advice of counsel," he said.

In earlier meetings on the system, total price estimates ranged well above $100 million.

To eliminate dead spots where there's no radio reception, the company will have to build and install 114 radio transmitter/receiver/repeater sites across the state — many of them on remote and hard to access mountain tops. NDOT will operate 66 of those sites, NV Energy 37 and Washoe County 11 sites on behalf of an estimated 16,000 users.

The entire system will take six years to build and install.

Inda said they plan to take details of the agreement including the cost to the Interim Finance Committee in October.

There were only two bidders for the massive project after a thorough vetting with numerous safeguards to ensure the process was as objective as possible and Harris came out on top, Inda said.

The new radio system will replace several outmoded systems including the old state system that's so old the manufacturer has stopped technical support for it. Planning and development of the new system has been in the works for most of a decade.