The Massachusetts State Police (MSP) coordinates safety and law enforcement missions across the northeastern U.S. state. MSP decided to implement a new statewide land mobile radio (LMR) trunked system to replace aging systems that were difficult to maintain.

The LMR project has moved into design, staging and preliminary testing of the core infrastructure. The project, which began in 2019, is scheduled to be completed in 2026. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) is managing the project, and Mission Critical Partners (MCP) consulted on the project and helped integrate the solution.

The new system complies with the Project 25 (P25), Phase 2 standard for digital radio systems. It replaces an analog trunked system that had been implemented in the mid-1990s and which was serving the eastern two-thirds of the state. It also replaces a P25, Phase 1 trunked system that was serving the western third of the state and had been implemented in 2011.

The legacy systems had reached end of life, meaning that they no longer were receiving vendor support and replacement parts were difficult, if not impossible, to procure, which made operation and maintenance exceedingly challenging. Another challenge concerned interoperability between the two systems, which was achieved via gateway patches, which is less efficient than the native interoperability that will be provided by the new statewide system.

The land mobile radio system can provide enhanced coverage, capacity and reliability, especially when compared with the legacy analog trunked system. Regional and local public-safety agencies — as well as the Massachusetts Department of Correction — may be able to join the system, which not only will enhance their radio communications but also interoperability between them and MSP. The system also supports paging, which is important to fire departments in the state, particularly volunteer departments. 

MCP has aided the project by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the legacy systems; providing recommendations pertaining to the new radio system and the backhaul system, particularly concerning system design; giving vendor-neutral insights pertaining to the evaluation of each proposed system; and system staging, testing and implementation, among other tasks.

“Providing public safety and first responder personnel with the necessary equipment to facilitate reliable communications is essential to their ability to safely respond to an emergency situation,” said Massachusetts EOTSS Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood. “I am grateful for this partnership between the Commonwealth and Mission Critical Partners to deliver on this important public safety project.”