float bonds or assess property taxes to pay for the initial investment in a system, then find other ways to finance the ongoing costs. "Usually the money is available," Murphy said.

But finding that money may mean doing business differently, according to Roberts. "Typically what happens is everybody goes in and everybody is fighting for their IT dollar," he said. "For these efforts to work, youve got to have a key stakeholder who has an investment in the outcome. Youve got to have strong leadership and it cannot be from the ground up."

States are finding that collaboration is key to implementing integrated communication systems that save lives and money. "[Agencies] are finding out that theyve got to be willing to share with others so they can share the burden of not only the operation and maintenance of the system, but also the initial purchase," Murphy said.

In Indiana, officials will return to the Legislature to seek funding and also explore other options, such as federal money and private-sector help.

"Were trying to move forward with the funding that were able to get," Carraway said. "Weve had individual troopers and citizens lives at stake because of the inability to communicate. Thank God there has not been a loss of life. Public safety really needs to have action taken. It hurts me to say this, [but] we have to have those disasters occur before it seems to wake people up to understand that this has to be done and funded appropriately."

Jim McKay, Justice and Public Safety Editor  |  Justice and Public Safety Editor