The new radio system allows us to do our job more effectively and efficiently.Police Sergeant
City of Lexington Police
The City of Lexington is located in central Kentucky and has a population of 300,000. Blue Grass Airport is a commercial service airport which provides service to about 500,000 passengers each year. The City and the airport have collaborated to build a network that will ensure fully interoperable communications.
The City of Lexington was facing major interoperability issues. Their VHF system was old, proprietary and outdated.
Robert Stack, Director of Enhanced 911, commented, "The police and fire departments were never able to communicate with each other unless we had two radios in vehicles. That's not really seamless interoperability."
Scott Lanter, Director of Public Safety Operations for Blue Grass Airport, added, "We had to deal with a lot of proprietary technologies. This radio would only talk to that radio and so forth. We didn't like those restrictions."
Robert Stack adds, "Proprietary systems had also hamstrung agency decision making. They could buy only one brand of portable or mobile. When it was time to buy spare parts for a system there was no choice but to go back to the vendor and pay whatever price they wanted to charge. We didn't want that situation again so we were very specific that we were looking for open standards in everything that we did, that we were looking for non-proprietary features as much as possible so that we could get the best price and be good stewards of our taxpayers' money."
Together, Airbus DS Communications (formerly Cassidian Communications) and Tait Communications created a multi-vendor, open-standard, interoperable communications network for the City of Lexington and Blue Grass Airport.
The City chose Airbus DS Communications because they considered it offered the best value. This wasn't just about price but also because they wanted a vendor who would complete the project without cost overruns. They also sought a partner they could trust, throughout the project and beyond.
Tait portables and mobiles were selected to operate on the Airbus DS Communications network. The City of Lexington was impressed, both with the Tait radios and with the Tait Smart Value plan. "It just took out all of the risk, and it ensures us that in about eight years our radios are still going to be cutting edge. Whatever is the newest, the latest and greatest from Tait, that's what our officers are going to have."
The City and Airport received a radio network that met their expectations and delivered on promises. Scott Lanter says, "We're really impressed. What you said it would do, it does."
There were challenges in setting up the system. These were all overcome and strengthened the relationships between City of Lexington, Tait, and Airbus DS Communications. Robert Stack explained, "You cannot implement a radio system without running into issues. It will happen. It happens anywhere that you go but if everybody is being honest with each other and overcoming the obstacles, I think you end this type of process trusting the person on the other side. They tell you everything you need to know and you can make good, solid decisions based on that information."
Rahsaan Berry, a police officer and end-user of the Tait radio, was also pleased with the results, "The new system allows us to do our job more effectively and efficiently. The audio is clearer and it doesn't interrupt us as we talk. One person talks and we can get that communication out there as soon as possible".
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This white paper is for Public Safety agencies that are considering purchasing P25 equipment and who want to better understand the interoperability issues associated with their selection of equipment.