Pennsylvania Radio Division Director Receives Governor’s Award
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | Comments

One of the employees leading the turnaround of Pennsylvania’s statewide public-safety radio system earned a governor’s award for excellence. Robert Barnham was among the 49 employees from eight departments honored by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“Robert is a visionary who creates opportunities that are not obvious to others,” said Maj. Diane Stackhouse, director of the Bureau of Communication and Information Services. “There are few people in the country who possess his knowledge of statewide public-safety radio systems, but it is his unwavering dedication and commitment to the job that makes him an invaluable asset to Pennsylvania.”

When the Pennsylvania State Police began to replace the aging, issue-plagued and proprietary OpenSky radio system in 2017, it turned to Barnham, director of its Statewide Radio Network Division, to lead the ambitious project.

Barnham championed the Project 25 (P25) radio system — nonproprietary technology that makes it possible for local, state and federal law enforcement entities to purchase radios at lower prices in a competitive market. Throughout implementation, he has seamlessly integrated his staff with the vendor’s staff, which has ensured the project proceeded without delay and without incurring additional costs from outside consultants. He also worked with the vendor to bring a first-of-its-kind staging facility to Pennsylvania. The staging facility provides the ability to test and inspect radio equipment prior to it being deployed in the field, negating frequent trips out of state, a statement said.

Barnham also traveled throughout the state to speak with county commissioners about opportunities to save taxpayer money by adopting the P25 radio system in their communities. Counties are offered several options in the shared services model, allowing them to reduce costs, improve access and increase capacity.

“Not only are county governments saving money by coming onboard with the P25 system, they are also making their first responders safer by ensuring they can communicate with other agencies,” said Stackhouse. “Robert has a talent for taking complex information and making it understandable for everyone.”

Last year, Barnham spearheaded a partnership with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to bring the agencies under its P25 umbrella. As a result, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and U.S. Marshals Service have all adopted the new system.

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