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Communication system to be improved for Lee County first responders

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 12:26 PM CST
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LEE Co., Iowa (KWQC) - A communication system first responders use in Lee County is in the works of being improved.

Lee County has signed a contract for an upgraded radio system that will allow it to connect to the Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System (ISICS), which enables first responders to communicate seamlessly and securely with one another, even if they are outside of their normal areas of operation.

“The safety of our citizens and first responders is our highest priority, and we are pleased to invest in modern, mission-critical communications technology that improves and informs our response to emergencies,” said Sheriff Stacy Weber. “The new system will connect police, fire, ambulance, conservation and other government agencies within Lee County to each other as well as with others across the state, so we can dispatch the appropriate resources and work together to resolve incidents quickly and efficiently with modern and reliable equipment.”

Lee County officials released this additional information in a press release:

After an RFP for a new 9-1-1 radio system was put out publicly, the county selected Motorola Solutions, the provider of the ISICS system, for the upgrade. The need for the new system was identified during an evaluation by the county’s radio consultant, Federal Engineering. Their audit showed the county’s aging VHF radio system was not meeting current public safety needs. The Motorola Solutions contract includes the construction of a new tower, upgrades to two existing towers and use of an existing ISICS tower in Lee County. The company will provide new dispatch consoles along with three years of service, maintenance and software upgrades as part of the main proposal. All first responders in the county will receive new Motorola Solutions APX mobile and portable radios and digital pagers.

Lee County expects the improved interoperability through ISICS will be particularly valuable during times of natural disasters. The severe derecho that heavily impacted cities across the state last August reaffirmed the importance of public safety communications that can withstand extreme weather conditions.

The timeline for deployment will be approximately two years due to construction of the new tower. County officials plan to get radios shipped, programmed and installed sooner to take advantage of the ISICS coverage within the county today.

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