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Group working on a plan to upgrade radios used by law enforcement and other first responders

A project is underway to upgrade the state’s network of radios used by public safety agencies, such as law enforcement and other first responders.

It’s called “SIRN 2020.”  State information technology director Mike Ressler chairs the group. He says the group has for years been working on plans to upgrade the system – and make it inter-operable, meaning agencies should be able to talk to each other.

"It's going to get all of our public safety officials better communications when they're out in the field," said Ressler. "That should mean quicker responses, when you have a 9-1-1 issue, or there is concern about the safety of law enforcement. Better communications should mean better service, and safer service."

Ressler says in the more rural and remote areas of North Dakota, there are coverage concerns as well. He says a feasibility study is underway.

"We've hired a consultant with a lot of experience in this area," Ressler said. "And the consultant is helping us put together the feasibility study. By June, we will have a very thorough plan in place."

Ressler says he will then sit down with Gov, Jack Dalrymple to see if it will fit in with the executive budget request. He says it will be a major investment.

"I think the local communities understand they will have to contribute," said Ressler. "The study will come up with options, and one will be selected, that has the right make up of local investment and state investment."

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