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Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness
7667 Independence Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
(225) 925-7500

Statewide Interoperable
Communications System

February 27, 2008

Media Contacts:

Markus Smith, Louisiana State Police - (225) 925-6202

Allison Morgan, GOHSEP - (225) 925-3966

Click here to listen to the Press Conference WMV Icon

Baton Rouge – Today the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), the Louisiana State Police (LSP) and the Statewide Interoperable Communication System Executive Committee report the status of the Statewide Interoperable Communications System and its recommended funding for the fiscal year 2008 - 2009.

Key lessons learned that have driven planning in Louisiana over the last several years include those learned in the nation’s response to the 9-11 terror attacks, and the state’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Louisiana’s response to the Hurricanes highlighted the state’s need for more robust systems to support communication among local, state, and federal first responders.  In September of 2005, Louisiana partnered with the federal government and local agencies to secure funding for initial implementation of the statewide system in southeast Louisiana. 

This statewide communications system is designed to support statewide interagency interoperability among local and state agency first responders during times of emergency, mutual aid response and day to day operations.

“During emergency situations it is a necessity that local and state responders are able to directly communicate with one another, and this system will allow that capability,” said Mark Cooper, Director of GOHSEP, “With this funding Louisiana will achieve 95% portable radio coverage statewide.”

Today, this system is operational in all parishes south of the I-10 corridor and in southeast Louisiana.  Currently the system has 6,712 state users and 8,410 local users, with many agencies planning to connect to the system within the year 2008. 

A multiphase implementation strategy was adopted due to the overwhelming expense of developing this statewide system, which will allow the initial system acquisitions cost to be spread across an acceptable period of time. 

Phase I refers to the areas along the Gulf Coast which are most prone to catastrophic natural disasters. Phase II refers to the build-out in the middle section of the State.  Phase III refers to the build-out in the northern part of the state.  Phase IV refers to the addition of 34 sites, deployed statewide, providing secure 95% or better coverage when using a portable radio inside a building at street level in the more densely populated seven metropolitan areas of the State, and secure 95% or better coverage when using a mobile street level radio in all other areas of the State, which will optimize and further improve statewide interoperable communications. 

Louisiana continues to pursue funding from various federal, state, local and private sources to implement a shared vision of a statewide communications system, with capacity and capability to transmit emergency communications for voice, data and imagery technology for Louisiana’s first responders.  Louisiana has fostered development of state and local partnerships and ensures communication and coordination occurs at all levels, on all issues.

"The Louisiana State Police is committed to working with our state and local partners to realize interoperable communications for public safety professionals across the state," stated Colonel Mike Edmonson.  "Utilizing this funding to expand our collective resources will help us in accomplishing our goal."

FY 2008-2009 Executive Budget Recommendation:

Ř       $21.1 million will fund connectivity for the northern areas of the state to the statewide system, in addition to the purchase of a master site, which will provide redundant connectivity. 

Ř       $3.7 million will fund the purchase of approximately 1,057 portable or mobile radios for local and state agency responders throughout Louisiana.

Ř       $8.4 million will fund ongoing statewide system maintenance provided by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Public Safety Services.

Ř       $483,000 will fund 4 full-time dedicated interoperability positions, which will provide executive staff support for planning, policy and research.

The State’s plan is purposely flexible, to meet the challenges in funding sources, development of a standard operating procedures, on-going evaluation of system capacity and emerging technologies, and public information to increase local buy-in and usage.
Click here to listen to the Press Conference WMV Icon

 Related Information
Governor's Office
Louisiana State Police
Statewide Interoperable Communication System Executive Committee



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