Governor Martin O'Malley today, joined by Superintendent of the Maryland State Police Colonel Marcus Brown, Director of Maryland's Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee Ray Lehr, Executive Vice President of Sales and Field Operations for Motorola Solutions Mark Moon, and several other state and local officials, made the ceremonial first call on the Maryland First Responders Interoperable Radio System Team or "Maryland FiRST", the new statewide 700 MHz radio system.
"There is no more important work in our country today than the work of first responders. For the last 10 years, together, we have been pursuing -- first in Baltimore, then in the State as a whole -- 12 Core Capacities to improve homeland security," said Governor O'Malley. "The first in those 12 Capacities is having an interoperable communications system that works every day to connect the men and women on the front lines. Today has been a long time coming, and it's a significant step forward for connecting all of Maryland's first responders to enable them to share information and help us create a more resilient Maryland."
"Maryland FiRST" will provide statewide interoperable communications to connect Maryland's first responders on one secure radio system. Today, the ceremonial first call on the new radio system made by Governor O'Malley connected Maryland State Police at the JFK Highway Barrack in Cecil County, Maryland State Police Headquarters in Pikesville, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Kent County Emergency Communications Center on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on one digital and secure radio system.
"This new statewide radio system will allow all of Maryland's public safety agencies to communicate more efficiently on the same system, which will ultimately enhance our mission of homeland security," said Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. "This new technology which makes instantaneous radio connectivity possible will provide emergency responders with even more tools to improve our state's emergency preparedness."
This first phase of Maryland FiRST will be fully operational by the end of 2012. The connection will cover central Maryland and Kent County, and key infrastructure patrolled by the Maryland Transportation Authority Police which includes: the I-95 corridor, BWI Airport, Port of Baltimore, the Inter County Connector (ICC), the Key Bridge, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the Harry Nice Bridge and both tunnels under the Baltimore harbor. The next phase will build-out the system on the Eastern Shore and be completed by the end of 2013. The entire Maryland FiRST system is anticipated to be complete by 2016.
Mark Moon, executive vice president of Sales and Field Operations, Motorola Solutions, Inc. added: "Helping our federal, state and local government customers achieve maximum interoperability is a high priority for Motorola Solutions. We are pleased to work with the state of Maryland to establish Maryland FiRST and create a fully digital and secure radio system that enables police and first responders to react quickly and effectively in emergencies. First responders will rely on Maryland FiRST to complete their missions, and Motorola is committed to providing the dependable communications they need."
The O'Malley-Brown Administration continues to make steady progress to enhance Maryland's homeland security and emergency preparedness, including 12 Core Goals to build a better prepared Maryland. To date, the Administration has begun building a historic Statewide Interoperable Public Safety Radio Communications System that will allow first responders to communicate seamlessly with partners in other agencies, across county lines, and between state and local agencies, all using the radios that they carry every day; helped create a shared network of more than 700 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera feeds that provide real-time situational awareness of highway and roadway conditions for first responders in Maryland and the National Capitol Region; deployed more than 300 License Plate Readers across the State that enable law enforcement officers to track terrorist suspects as well as recover stolen vehicles; developed an online emergency mapping application (OSPREY) that provides real-time emergency data and information to first responders and the public; connected all 46 acute care hospitals in the state and more than 300 private retail pharmacies to an electronic biosurveillance system that detects early indicators of virus outbreaks and public health threats; created a radar-based tracking system that monitors vessels movements across the Chesapeake Bay and nearby waterways and enables law enforcement officers to better protect critical maritime infrastructure and natural resources; and created an electronic health and medical information dashboard that brings multiple real-time data feeds, such as emergency room status and hospital resource availability, into a single online viewer available to all hospitals, EMS units, and other medical first responders.