New Statewide Public Safety Radio System Planned for State Police / Partner Agencies

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ecps92

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New Statewide Public Safety Radio System Planned for State Police and Partner Agencies | MSPnews.org

New Statewide Public Safety Radio System Planned for State Police and Partner Agencies
December 12, 2017

New system will replace aging infrastructure and yield benefits in speed, interoperability

FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts State Police, working in cooperation with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance (ANF), today announced that it is taking steps to replace the Commonwealth’s aging public safety radio system.

The statewide system provides mission critical radio communications for more than 2,000 state troopers across the Commonwealth, as well as for 245 other public safety and transportation agencies. The system will also be used by the state’s 911 emergency call centers and will provide greatly enhanced interoperable communications for the first responder community.

“The state troopers and first responders that use this radio system need the most advanced and reliable communications available in order to respond to the hundreds of thousands of calls for service that we receive each year,” said Colonel Kerry Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “The legacy system we are presently using is nearing the end of its useful life, which is why we are taking proactive steps to replace it with one that will allow us to respond quickly and seamlessly to critical incidents and threats across the state.”

A competitive procurement process will focus on replacing the current analog radio network with a new digital system that will provide far more capacity and coverage across the state. The Commonwealth expects to replace critical system components such as radio consoles at state police dispatch centers and portable radios for troopers in year one of the project.

“I appreciate Colonel Gilpin’s leadership on this important issue that is critical to public safety in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Dan Bennett. “This is a significant investment that will dramatically improve system performance and deliver public safety benefits for years to come.”

Enhanced interoperability – that is, the ability for different agencies to communicate seamlessly via radio — is one of the most important capabilities for law enforcement and emergency personnel responding to criminal or terrorist critical incidents and natural disasters.

The overhaul will take approximately five years to complete and the cost will be determined through the competitive bidding process. The upgrade will be paid for through a combination of capital and State 911 trust funds.

The planning and investment for this new system, known as the Commonwealth Interoperable Radio System (CoMIRS) addresses the radio needs for state police and multiple partner agencies such as Barnstable County police and fire, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Mass DOT-Highway Division, Transit Police and state and county prisoner transportation teams. The proposed design of this new system may also provide an opportunity for municipalities and regional entities with aging and non-supportable systems to join the statewide radio system.
 

ecps92

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follow-up news, according to a broadcast on 1030 khz :D this am the first priority will be to upgrade Troopers Portables/Mobiles [and I would assume the consolettes at the Barracks]


Going to be interesting how this will all shake out for the radio monitoring public.
 

garys

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This makes sense since there is likely to be a wide range of equipment out there.

follow-up news, according to a broadcast on 1030 khz :D this am the first priority will be to upgrade Troopers Portables/Mobiles [and I would assume the consolettes at the Barracks]
 

bfperez

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I wonder where the existing P25 system fits into this plan.
 

ecps92

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Since it is all part of one big system, likely added onto it [same CORE]
The Analog SysID is 0d14
The Digital SysID is d14

Look for no major changes to that formatting.
And based on the P25 roll-out any TG that exists now [Analog] divide by 16 to get the P25 Equiv TG
I wonder where the existing P25 system fits into this plan.
 

w2csx

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So I wonder why they need a new system when they are already building out the Commonwealth of Massachusetts P25 system?
 

masstech

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Back in 2013 this time of the year, the MBTA said Transit Police said they were upgrading to "COMIRS". That document - a report by an MA "innovation" office - "Executive Office of Technology Services and Security", found online as "MassInnov8", can be found here on slide 32: https://www.slideshare.net/MassInnov8/ogio-annual-report2013b

It references MBTA system-wide upgrades from 400 MHz to 800 MHz, but specifies that there's a separation?

A document from MassDOT: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.n...al/1467205977/CIP_FY17_to_FY21.pdf?1467205977

Project Name: CoMIRS MBTA POLICE MIGRATION TO STATE INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
Priority: 1: Reliability
Location: (blank)
ID: P13005
Total Cost: $3,540,000
Prior years: $3,540,000
SFY 2017: -
SFY 2018-2021: -

Here's also a reference about CoMIRS from the Central Region Homeland Security Advisory Council - Interoperability Committee from 2016: http://www.cmrpc.org/sites/default/...ecurity/Interop/Inter-op Minutes 01-05-16.pdf

More references about CoMIRS:
- BFD Rescue 1 getting radio upgrades: https://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/Cgram 06-2013_tcm3-37798.pdf

And unhelpfully not-informative (useless) web pages on mass.gov about CoMIRS, (they just say "Coming soon..." and are placeholder pages):
- https://www.mass.gov/more-about-comirs
- https://www.mass.gov/public-record-request-for-comirs
- https://www.mass.gov/comirs-memorandum-of-understanding

This is a 5-year-old system of which there's very little information to glean about.

The sheer lack of information (I will not even go into using terms like transparency, accountability, and oversight) on mass.gov and MSP's part is astounding. It's impressive, and maybe I should join up to be in cahoots with all the fun technology there can be had that is kept all secret.

I think it is safe to assume that the system we call Commonwealth of Massachusetts P25 is better known as "CoMIRS", and the system page on RR and the relevant articles on SNE should be updated to reflect this more accurately.
 

garys

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HazMat 1 is different than Rescue 1. HazMat 1 is a regional resource operated by BFD.

With a change in Governors, there may have been a change in priorities for communications systems. The T Police migrated to 800 for (I think) a couple of reasons. One is that they have responsibilities as far south as Providence, RI and that is likely outside of the footprint of the UHF system.

The build out of the "new" MSP system is really just an extension of what they started in the western part of the state. The 700 Mhz Overlay in greater Boston is not likely to be end up as a MSP zone. It might happen, but that was not the original plan for that spectrum. That's why you don't hear any MSP on it other than occasionally Troop E. At one time, there was Zone 5 traffic on it, but that's been a couple of years.

I also don't expect that the Worcester, Cambridge, or MassPort nodes will routinely carry MSP traffic in the future.

I expect that the current 800 analog Zones will transition to P25 over some period of time.

I worked for a government agency for a long time and I've lost count of the number of plans that were never implemented for a number of reasons. The #1 reason being that money was never allocated to buy and build the systems. That's not limited to radio systems. Priorities change as leadership changes.

Back in 2013 this time of the year, the MBTA said Transit Police said they were upgrading to "COMIRS". That document - a report by an MA "innovation" office - "Executive Office of Technology Services and Security", found online as "MassInnov8", can be found here on slide 32: https://www.slideshare.net/MassInnov8/ogio-annual-report2013b

It references MBTA system-wide upgrades from 400 MHz to 800 MHz, but specifies that there's a separation?

A document from MassDOT: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.n...al/1467205977/CIP_FY17_to_FY21.pdf?1467205977

Project Name: CoMIRS MBTA POLICE MIGRATION TO STATE INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
Priority: 1: Reliability
Location: (blank)
ID: P13005
Total Cost: $3,540,000
Prior years: $3,540,000
SFY 2017: -
SFY 2018-2021: -

Here's also a reference about CoMIRS from the Central Region Homeland Security Advisory Council - Interoperability Committee from 2016: http://www.cmrpc.org/sites/default/...ecurity/Interop/Inter-op Minutes 01-05-16.pdf

More references about CoMIRS:
- BFD Rescue 1 getting radio upgrades: https://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/Cgram 06-2013_tcm3-37798.pdf

And unhelpfully not-informative (useless) web pages on mass.gov about CoMIRS, (they just say "Coming soon..." and are placeholder pages):
- https://www.mass.gov/more-about-comirs
- https://www.mass.gov/public-record-request-for-comirs
- https://www.mass.gov/comirs-memorandum-of-understanding

This is a 5-year-old system of which there's very little information to glean about.

The sheer lack of information (I will not even go into using terms like transparency, accountability, and oversight) on mass.gov and MSP's part is astounding. It's impressive, and maybe I should join up to be in cahoots with all the fun technology there can be had that is kept all secret.

I think it is safe to assume that the system we call Commonwealth of Massachusetts P25 is better known as "CoMIRS", and the system page on RR and the relevant articles on SNE should be updated to reflect this more accurately.
 

masstech

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HazMat 1 is different than Rescue 1. HazMat 1 is a regional resource operated by BFD.

Thank you for the catch, I was rushing to finish that post and accidentally wrote Hazmat instead of Rescue.

With a change in Governors, there may have been a change in priorities for communications systems. The T Police migrated to 800 for (I think) a couple of reasons. One is that they have responsibilities as far south as Providence, RI and that is likely outside of the footprint of the UHF system.

Does CoMIRS extend all the way there or are there MoUs in place to have peering in place between systems in RI with CoMIRS?

The build out of the "new" MSP system is really just an extension of what they started in the western part of the state. The 700 Mhz Overlay in greater Boston is not likely to be end up as a MSP zone. It might happen, but that was not the original plan for that spectrum. That's why you don't hear any MSP on it other than occasionally Troop E. At one time, there was Zone 5 traffic on it, but that's been a couple of years.

Interesting. I think the broad spectrum license is in MSP's name (as the licensee). What was the original plan, and what system (Type II, P25) and site(s) carry MSP traffic in the Boston area?

I also don't expect that the Worcester, Cambridge, or MassPort nodes will routinely carry MSP traffic in the future.

What system and sites currently carries MSP traffic in those areas?

I expect that the current 800 analog Zones will transition to P25 over some period of time.

This makes sense, and is probably what is happening here. Perhaps we will see a sunset plan set in place for the Type II system alongside this project.

I worked for a government agency for a long time and I've lost count of the number of plans that were never implemented for a number of reasons. The #1 reason being that money was never allocated to buy and build the systems. That's not limited to radio systems. Priorities change as leadership changes.

I've seen this frequently too - it's also many a time leader ship not putting their money where their mouth is. A shame, really, but unfortunately a fact of life.
 

masstech

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One more mass.gov link about CoMIRS, also coming soon: https://www.mass.gov/comirs-usage-request

I found this small gem about CoMIRS written in August 2014 in the "Spencer New Leader" newspaper: http://www.508local.com/pdf/SPE.2014.08.08.pdf

I have copied the article here:

News Brief
State Police radio funds authorized, Brewer says

BOSTON — State Sen. Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre) announced that the House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill authorizing up to $1 billion in bonds over the next five years to fund information technology equipment and related projects across the Commonwealth.

Included in the bill is an amendment authorizing $68.2 million for updated State Police radio equipment, supported by Brewer.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Interoperable Radio System (CoMIRS) is the state’s wireless communication system, used by more than 16,000 public safety personnel statewide. The system was upgraded in Western Massachusetts in 2012, but the analog communication equipment in the rest of the state was unable to support the new technology. The subscriber radios currently used by State Police are more than 20 years old and cannot access the newer digital systems in Western Massachusetts and the greater Boston area. The $68.2 million in this bill will allow for new State Police dispatch consoles and radios, as well as updates to the existing network.

“Emergencies can strike at a moment’s notice, so it is of the utmost importance that our State Police officers have the most up-to-date technology to fulfill their duties,” Brewer said. “The tornado three years ago in Monson and the Boston Marathon bombings are just two examples of countless lives that were saved because of the modern technology that police officers use. This funding will expand upon that technology.”

The bill will now go to the governor for his approbation. Once a bond bill is signed into law, the administration has unilateral control over the spending of all borrowed funds. Not all funds authorized by the Legislature are required to be released, and some funding projects may not be released in their entirety.

Interesting:
- House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill authorizing up to $1 billion in bonds over the next five years (unsure if the bill was given approbation by the governer, I need to research this)
- $68.2 million is included as an amendment "for updated State Police radio equipment". In particular, the article mentions: new State Police dispatch consoles and radios, as well as updates to the existing network
- CoMIRS is used by more than 16,000 public safety personnel statewide.
- The system was upgraded in Western Massachusetts in 2012
- "...but the analog communication equipment in the rest of the state was unable to support the new technology."
- "the subscriber radios currently used by State Police are more than 20 years old and cannot access the newer digital systems in Western Massachusetts and the greater Boston area."

So what this tells me, and some questions that I now have are:
- the 700 MHz overlay in the "greater Boston area" is in fact meant, or at least earmarked, for State Police use.
- the "system" was upgraded in Western MA in 2012 - but why wasn't this completed throughout the state?
- 16,000 public safety personnel - I what numbers does this co-incide to? Example, does it include Boston Fire numbers? If it includes numbers of all the sites "Commonwealth of Massachusetts P25" is connected with, then CoMIRS is without a doubt that.

Some additional questions not brought up by that article:
- if CoMIRS has been in development/use since 2012, why doesn't the most recent publicly (internet) available SCIP for MA mention it at all (approved and issued in December 2015, to expire November 2020)? http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/ogr/homesec/hs-ma-statewide-comm-interop-plan-nov2015.pdf
- Speaking of the MA SCIP, why is it impossible to find the MIFOG?
- Same for the MTCP.
 

jmorrissey23

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One more mass.gov link about CoMIRS, also coming soon: https://www.mass.gov/comirs-usage-request

I found this small gem about CoMIRS written in August 2014 in the "Spencer New Leader" newspaper: http://www.508local.com/pdf/SPE.2014.08.08.pdf

I have copied the article here:



Interesting:
- House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill authorizing up to $1 billion in bonds over the next five years (unsure if the bill was given approbation by the governer, I need to research this)
- $68.2 million is included as an amendment "for updated State Police radio equipment". In particular, the article mentions: new State Police dispatch consoles and radios, as well as updates to the existing network
- CoMIRS is used by more than 16,000 public safety personnel statewide.
- The system was upgraded in Western Massachusetts in 2012
- "...but the analog communication equipment in the rest of the state was unable to support the new technology."
- "the subscriber radios currently used by State Police are more than 20 years old and cannot access the newer digital systems in Western Massachusetts and the greater Boston area."

So what this tells me, and some questions that I now have are:
- the 700 MHz overlay in the "greater Boston area" is in fact meant, or at least earmarked, for State Police use.
- the "system" was upgraded in Western MA in 2012 - but why wasn't this completed throughout the state?
- 16,000 public safety personnel - I what numbers does this co-incide to? Example, does it include Boston Fire numbers? If it includes numbers of all the sites "Commonwealth of Massachusetts P25" is connected with, then CoMIRS is without a doubt that.

Some additional questions not brought up by that article:
- if CoMIRS has been in development/use since 2012, why doesn't the most recent publicly (internet) available SCIP for MA mention it at all (approved and issued in December 2015, to expire November 2020)? http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/ogr/homesec/hs-ma-statewide-comm-interop-plan-nov2015.pdf
- Speaking of the MA SCIP, why is it impossible to find the MIFOG?
- Same for the MTCP.

CoMIRS is just a new name for the already existing statewide trunking system, hence why it is only referred to as the "state 7/800 trunking system" in the SCIP. Both the existing analog trunk (https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=736) and digital trunk (https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=7127) actually the same system as they share the same system controller. The analog sites are tied into the digital ASTRO 7.1x controller using a SmartX site converter.

The Cambridge site normally only carries Cambridge traffic as it the site is owned by the City of Cambridge, but it runs off of the state's system controller, which means is the Cambridge radio tech wanted to they could allow MSP or other non-Cambridge traffic on the site. The same applies to the Boston UASI 700 simulcast, Massport site and Worcester Simulcast. The true statewide system only includes the analog sites and the western mass Troop B digital sites.

I know this is kind of confusing, but that is the best I can explain it.
 

masstech

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CoMIRS is just a new name for the already existing statewide trunking system, hence why it is only referred to as the "state 7/800 trunking system" in the SCIP. Both the existing analog trunk (https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=736) and digital trunk (https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=7127) actually the same system as they share the same system controller. The analog sites are tied into the digital ASTRO 7.1x controller using a SmartX site converter.

Ah, so CoMIRS is now treated as the primary system, with the Type II system set up on top of that? Does that mean for users on both sides of the site converter, the other side appears transparent? Meaning radio IDs get passed through, etc.

Where can learn more information on radio systems management, and perhaps more specifically, where can one learn information that you have?

The Cambridge site normally only carries Cambridge traffic as it the site is owned by the City of Cambridge, but it runs off of the state's system controller, which means is the Cambridge radio tech wanted to they could allow MSP or other non-Cambridge traffic on the site. The same applies to the Boston UASI 700 simulcast, Massport site and Worcester Simulcast. The true statewide system only includes the analog sites and the western mass Troop B digital sites.

Owned by the City of Cambridge, but operated and maintained by Cambridge Fire, correct?

If connectivity between the state's core and Cambridge's site on top of the Harvard building is lost, does that mean the site fails? This sounds like trouble. Does the Cambridge site have it's own controller, or does the site truly run "off of" MSP's core?

When letting outside traffic on your site, is that on a whitelist basis?

Is, for example, Cambridge's system linked directly with Boston (meaning less network travel time) or is traffic for an example TG that is on both systems passed through MSP's controller?

When describing a system as a site or simulcast, are we describing one site vs multiple sites?

I know this is kind of confusing, but that is the best I can explain it.

Not confusing at all. This is very informational, thank you!

P.S. Would you happen to be Joe Morrissey, the fire buff, of MorrisseyPhotos? I've seen some of your photos online before, just wanted to say wonderful work!
 

garys

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Early on, there were some Zone 5 TGs on the 700 Overlay, but that's not happening currently.

Money is why the upgrade to the rest of the system wasn't done. There is only so much to go around in each fiscal year.

But, you seem to want to believe press releases, so feel free.

So what this tells me, and some questions that I now have are:
- the 700 MHz overlay in the "greater Boston area" is in fact meant, or at least earmarked, for State Police use.
- the "system" was upgraded in Western MA in 2012 - but why wasn't this completed throughout the state?
- 16,000 public safety personnel - I what numbers does this co-incide to? Example, does it include Boston Fire numbers? If it includes numbers of all the sites "Commonwealth of Massachusetts P25" is connected with, then CoMIRS is without a doubt that.
 

masstech

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Early on, there were some Zone 5 TGs on the 700 Overlay, but that's not happening currently.

Money is why the upgrade to the rest of the system wasn't done. There is only so much to go around in each fiscal year.

That makes sense. I'm mostly curious as to "why wasn't more money set aside until now", that sort of thing. It clearly was someone's priority back then, but as you said, priorities change - so I guess it's a question of what caused the priority change.

But, you seem to want to believe press releases, so feel free.

I don't believe anything at all, not even you! :^) The license of the overlay being in MSP's name and this article brief does point in that direction, though.

I'm browsing around and looking for more information that can clear this up. But there's a clear lack of information, unfortunately.
 
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