San Bernardino County to get New Radio System – for $158 Million

San Bernardino County Sheriff SUVAfter six years, San Bernardino County is finally on its way to overhauling its antiquated public safety radio system, and will be getting a state-of-the-art digital system at a cost of more than $158 million.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday entered into agreements with Motorola Solutions and Aviat U.S. and authorized contract expenditures of $123.3 million to get the project off the ground.

The county has been trying to overhaul its radio system since 2007, but funds became squeezed after the collapse of the housing market in 2008 and stalled the project, county spokesman David Wert said.

For years, the county has used a vintage analog radio system. When repairs are needed, it has had to resort to trolling eBay in search for replacement parts, said Jennifer Hilber, chief information officer for the county’s Information Services Department.

The new Motorola Project 25 digital system will provide the county with stable and reliable digital communications, improved voice clarity and signal strength, and enhanced security features.

Sheriff John McMahon touted the system’s automatic roaming and GPS capabilities.

“The stability and reliability of this system is critical to us,” McMahon told the board on Tuesday. He said the P25 radio system is already being used by San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties, three of six counties comprising the Office of Emergency Services (OES) Region 6 area. The other counties are San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono.

Nearly every public safety agency within San Bernardino County pushed for the radio system’s overhaul, warning that a system crash was imminent.

“The bottom line is the system is going to fail. It’s not if, but when,” Hilber told the board.

The county’s Architecture and Engineering Department has already budgeted $59 million in start-up money for the project, and the county will set aside $20 million a year over the next five years to fully fund the project.


Photo Courtesy San Bernardino County Sheriff


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3 Responses to San Bernardino County to get New Radio System – for $158 Million

  1. Mark Lassman says:

    I’m not a communications technician or engineer by ANY means, but I do know THIS. In the City of Los Angeles, when LA City Fire was on 33 Mhz and LAPD was on 154-159 MHz, there were NEVER any problems in terms of the equipment failing. The reason that LAFD moved from 33 MHz to 800 Mhz was for the latter’s ability to be useful in high-rise situations. Why LAPD went to a 500 Mhz system, I don’t know other than that Motorola sold the city a “bill of goods”. It’s all I hear on the radio is how units are having trouble logging on, or the transmission wasn’t clear, it was garbled, etc.

    Back in the “old days” we never heard of “system problems” like we have today. By me, this is not progress.

    Why does the CHP still use their old, reliable 42 MHz analog system? Because… it IS reliable. It covers the distances they need to cover, and… it just works.

  2. Andy says:

    Sanbernardino sheriff just does not want the citizens to listen to the scanner.

  3. Andy says:

    Waste of money us tax payers do nog approve

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