Washington County Public Safety Radio System Consultant Funding Request


Premium Subscriber
Dec 11, 2011
SUBJECT: P25 450 MHz Public Safety Radio System, Consultant Funding Request
PRESENTATION DATE: October 27, 2020
PRESENTATION BY: Mark Mades – Deputy Director, Wireless Communications; R. David Hays
- Director, Division of Emergency Services (DES)

RECOMMENDATION: To authorize funding in the amount of $100,000.00 to secure
contractual Radio System Engineering Services.

REPORT-IN-BRIEF: The County’s 450 MHz, P25 Digital Radio System, which serves as the
primary radio system for Public Safety is nearing its 14th year of service since its original installation.
In so much, several areas of Washington County had marginal radio system coverage due to
mountainous terrain and the need for directional antennas to keep radio signals from interfering with
other jurisdictions. One area where radio system reception and transmission is questionable is the
southern areas of Washington County. There are several other areas throughout the County where
improved performance could be improved, however the southern areas of the County are most
pressing due to call volumes on the Potomac River, C&O Canal and Appalachian trails.
Compounding the initial radio system weaknesses, over 10 years of vegetative growth has continued
to occur. A recent review of system issues seems indicate a possibility that this growth is
contributing to decreased system function and performance issues in South County.

DISCUSSION: Director Mades of Wireless Communications has created a CIP project,
whereas, the P25 digital radio system would be reviewed by a specialized engineer who would draft
recommendations on improvements and updates to our Public Safety Radio System. This study is
needed to aid County Staff in addressing the needed updates and improvements to the system.
Timing of this study is of great significance, as the study needs to have the benefit of an analysis
during heavy tree foliage and vegetation states.
Awaiting future funding in the FY22 budgeting process, the study could not occur until the spring of
2022 due to the timing of heavy vegetation and foliage conditions. This would push correction of the
issues to the FY23 Budget cycle, which is more than 24 months out.

FISCAL IMPACT: $100,000.00