Wasserman Schultz has pushed the Capitol Police to take steps toward overhauling its radio system. The department is now testing the new system.
“While we realize that there have been many projections on the completion date for this complex project, our top priority has been focused on doing it right, so that we can ensure that our officers have a fully functional, modernized critical life safety tool needed to perform our security mission,” Schneider said.
As defenders of the Capitol complex, most of the department’s coverage area is indoors. Unlike a municipal police force that spends most of its time patrolling the streets, many officers are stationed in and around historic buildings.
Originally, the radio modernization was projected to cost $35 million.
When infrastructure costs were taken into account, including off-site antennas and construction of a dispatch center, that figure increased.
Dine gave more detail on the capabilities of the new system in a statement Wednesday.
“The new radio system will replace the current system which is an analog, non-encrypted, outdoor VHF radio system, which provides indoor coverage. The new system is a 14 channel, encrypted, APCO-25 standard, digital trunk VHF system, which provides redundant capabilities. The new system is a complex, highly engineered system designed with both an indoor and outdoor antenna system. The referenced APCO-25 standard facilitates post 9/11 interoperability requirements. The new radio system, in addition to the radio technology itself, has a significant supporting infrastructure footprint designed for our specific project requirements.”
Achieving such a complex project has required the department to partner with numerous entities, he added, including the architect of the Capitol and the Naval Air Systems Command, as well as the Government Accountability Office.
Dine has requested an additional $2.8 million in fiscal 2014 to cover annual operations and maintenance of the new radio system.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.