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Oklahoma Homeland Security Director to Demonstrate Emergency Communications Capabilities in Southwest Oklahoma

WALTERS, Okla., Oklahoma Homeland Security Director, Kerry Pettingill, will speak to first responders in Walters Thursday acknowledging their role in the recent expansion of the statewide radio communications system newly named OKWIN (Oklahoma Wireless Information Network). The expansion of OKWIN into Cotton County allows seamless communication among public safety agencies located along Interstate 44. The Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS) is spearheading the effort to expand OKWIN not only to the “I-44 corridor”, but ultimately to every public safety agency in the state. Director Pettingill will be joined by Oklahoma State Senator, Don Barrington for a demonstration of the new capability by communicating with agencies in Miami, Tulsa, Coweta, Oklahoma City, and Lawton.

“With the expansion of OKWIN, it’s now possible for first responders to communicate with each other from Texas to Missouri where before all that existed were disparate systems that weren’t compatible,” said Director Pettingill. “It’s imperative to the safety of Oklahoma’s first responder community that emergency communications continue to be improved, and we’re extremely proud that Cotton County has partnered with us in our effort to make that happen.”
OKWIN is a statewide 800 MHz radio communications system. In 2007, an independent study found that the 800 MHz radio system is the best platform for public safety agencies across the state of Oklahoma. Shortly after the release of the study, OKOHS created the Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP) which provides a road map for the implementation of a seamless communications system. To date, OKOHS has dedicated over $40 million in Department of Homeland Security grant funds to the statewide system. This funding has been used to purchase radios for over 100 police and fire departments, ambulances, and hospitals and infrastructure equipment for 21 tower sites. There are now over 20,000 users of the OKWIN statewide.

“It’s our vision to expand OKWIN into those areas outside of the I-44 corridor and that all of Oklahoma’s public safety agencies who are currently using antiquated technology are able to purchase the equipment necessary to communicate with each other in day-to-day operations or in the case of a major emergency,” says Pettingill.