System would link police

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Alabama State Troopers, along with local officials, will hopefully have a better way to communicate with each other in the near future.

State officials plan to build a communications system that will link all troopers, and will allow local police officials the opportunity to communicate with the troopers.

The network will link troopers in 27 counties in south Alabama and bids were taken last week for the first phase of the project.

Bids to set up the system were $8.3 million from Motorola and $9.9 million from M/A-Com.

Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Col. Jim Alexander said the network will likely be ready for operation in approximately 18 months.

The bids are for a digital radio system that would be able to carry computer data, and equipment would include mobile radios for cars, portable radios for uniforms, station radios and transmitters and receivers.

A mobile data system for laptop computers for trooper cars will be added through a separate bid later in the year.

The bids from last week lock equipment prices in for three years, and each law enforcement agency wanting to join the network will get a price list for each item, such as a radio or base station. The price of the equipment depends on the company whose individual bid is chosen.

Alexander said he wants to have the system operating all over the state in approximately three years.

The DPS had budgeted the money for the network and also has money in

a special trust fund. The department is seeking federal money to expand and add to the communications system.

Federal money could also be used to hire additional troopers or for capital improvements to trooper posts.

Alexander said only 35 percent of troopers statewide can talk to their posts, translating into the fact that Alabama has the country's worst enforcement communication system.