Counties Guide Public Safety Radio System Expansion

County partners oversee the build-out of the state interoperable radio system, Maryland First, through Maryland’s Radio Control Board.

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2016 is the target date for completing 83% coverage for the statewide interoperable radio system, Maryland First.

Maryland FiRST is a statewide radio communication system which will improve police, fire, and emergency management communications for our first responders, allowing them to more effectively and efficiently respond to emergency situations within certain regions and across county lines.

Counties support and participate in this statewide system in many ways. By sharing infrastructure and coordinating with the state, counties are integral partners in establishing an interoperable system.

Counties also use the network as a back-up to their own systems, for coordination of regional emergency response, and in some cases as their primary public safety radio systems. For several years, Kent County has used the system as its primary radio network, now Talbot and Queen Anne’s counties have plans to do the same.

The creation of a the Radio Control Board with committed representatives of the State and county partners was a MACo initiative in 2014. The goal of the Board is to protect everyone’s interests and provide county users with a role in the system’s oversight and management, including infrastructure sharing coordination, network prioritization, standardized operations, and financial decisions.

The recently released meeting minutes and presentations from the Radio Control Board meeting reveal topics for discussion at the Board meeting and an update on building Maryland First.

Topics for discussion included:

  • funding
  • maintenance
  • licensing

The group also reviewed progress on Phase 3 of the four phase build out of the radio system.  The status is as follows

  • Central Maryland and Baltimore County: operational since August 2015
  • Harford Cecil counties, October 2015 target for completion
  • Carroll County: December 2015 target for completion
  • Frederick, Anne Arundel, and Howard counties: June 2016 target for completion

For more information, see the Radio Control Board_Public Session Minutes