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Hamilton County, Ohio Enhances Public Safety Communications System

More than 2,000 users linked in county and neighboring jurisdictions

CINCINNATI -- Hamilton County, Ohio, began the second phase of its communications system from Motorola, making communications possible among all public safety agencies in the county and neighboring jurisdictions.

Coming online during Phase II are more than 100 public safety agencies. Fire department personnel began using Phase I of the system in 2002. By the end of 2004, the county will be interoperable with Cincinnati, now in the process of developing a $22.7 million, 10-site, 20-channel infrastructure for its public safety communications.

Hamilton County is located in the extreme southwest corner of Ohio, covering an area of 414 square miles and a population of 845,268 people. The technology replaces an aging system that had served Hamilton County since the 1940s.

More than 2,000 subscribers and 15 sites are on the Hamilton County system, which includes most of the cities, villages and townships within Hamilton County, as well as the Metropolitan Sewer District. Hamilton County users will also be able to communicate with Clermont County, Warren County, Westchester Township, and the state's Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS).

Individual system sites are connected by a digital microwave system. Dispatchers will manage communications traffic from nine consoles at the county's existing dispatch center. In addition to mobile radios, a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system will be integrated into the system by early 2004. The technology helps call-takers and dispatchers handle incident information, and will help the county prepare for Phase II Wireless E-911. The CAD system will provide functions such as mapping capabilities and dispatching and tracking of individual fire units.

Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.
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