Lt. Governor Jari Askins to Demonstrate New Radio Communications Capabilities in Coweta
COWETA, Okla., Oklahoma Lt. Governor Jari Askins will speak to first responders in Coweta today acknowledging their participation in the recent expansion of the statewide 800 MHz communications system into the area. The expansion, spear-headed by the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS), is part of the final phase of the “I-44 Corridor” project making communication possible among public safety agencies located along Interstate 44 from Texas to Missouri. The Lt. Governor will be joined by Oklahoma Homeland Security Director Kerry Pettingill and together, they will demonstrate the new capability by communicating with agencies in Lawton, Oklahoma City, Miami, and Tulsa.
“This new capability will enable seamless communications between Oklahoma’s public safety agencies, which is ultimately in the best interest of our citizens,” said Director Pettingill. “It’s imperative to the safety of Oklahomans that communications statewide reach an optimal level of interoperability, and we’re extremely proud that Coweta has joined us in our effort to do so.”
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 state system. This funding has been used to purchase radios for over 100 police and fire departments, ambulance and hospitals and infrastructure equipment for 21 tower sites. There are now over 20,000 users of the 800 MHz system statewide.
“It’s our vision that the system continue to expand into those areas outside of the I-44 corridor and that all of Oklahoma’s public safety agencies that 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.