Virginia Announces $6.5M Initiative to Improve Radio Interoperability
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | Comments

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced a $6.5-million initiative to improve emergency radio communications between local, state and federal first responders. New dedicated funding in Virginia’s 2018–2020 biennial budget will support the full implementation of the Commonwealth Link to Interoperable Communications (COMLINC), a technology that allows radio systems to talk to one another during an emergency.

Since 2007, COMLINC has served as the commonwealth’s interoperability solution to bridge public-safety communication systems used by local, state and federal stakeholders. However, the program has relied on localities for funding and thus, has not been widely implemented throughout Virginia. This first-ever dedicated funding source will fully establish COMLINC as a comprehensive statewide program and enable public-safety agencies at all levels to communicate seamlessly. The funding includes training and additional maintenance personnel to support localities and other stakeholders.

“Our public-safety professionals must have access to a secure, unified emergency radio system like COMLINC to do their jobs effectively and keep all Virginians safe,” said Northam. “The expansion and full implementation of this program represents a strategic public-safety investment that will help improve the interoperability of our emergency communications.”

COMLINC was initially developed to improve interagency radio communications when responding to large-scale statewide emergency incidents. Once fully implemented, public-safety communications centers, or 911 call centers, will use COMLINC to connect these radios together using an internet-based technology system.

“COMLINC is an agile, adaptable and affordable solution that streamlines public-safety communications and will greatly assist our first responders statewide in coordinating emergency responses,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.

The COMLINC initiative is a state-funded and sustainable partnership that supports local, regional and statewide public-safety interoperability. The COMLINC capital improvement project will commence in January 2020.

“This renewed technology, commitment to proficiency, and promise of sustainment will provide Virginia public-safety communicators and responders a great advantage in delivering their services,” said Terry Hall, chair of the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee.

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