Officials and emergency personnel in the four southern Louisiana parishes of Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines needed an interoperable system that could allow for area-wide communications in times of regional emergencies, such as hurricanes and terror threats.
M S Benbow & Associates designed and implemented an advanced P25 mixed spectrum 700/800 MHz digital two-way radio transmission system to provide communications throughout the entire region, including water and marsh areas. Service extended to portable in-vehicle radio coverage on all accessible roads and inside physical structures in the New Orleans metro area.
The system also provided secure high-speed wireless data access to subscribers throughout the region. It allowed 70 primary public safety agencies to talk to their officers and other outside personnel in a direct fashion that previously was not possible.
In addition to designing and implementing the new state-of-the-art system, MSB provided project management skills to effectively interact with subcontractors, vendors and public safety agencies. MSB secured all necessary regulatory and FCC licensing requirements and tested the network under real-world operating conditions.
The system was the first of its kind in the United States to employ all digital voice transmission in a public safety radio system covering such an expansive geographic area. The system supports approximately 10,000 subscriber radios and is interconnected with a new state system that can be deployed as necessary to provide communications across Louisiana.
The first large-scale utilization of the system was an oil barge and ship accident on the Mississippi River in 2008. The response to this incident was greatly enhanced by the capabilities of the system, improving the consolidated command and control of the incident across all layers of government.
For their excellence in the project, MSB won a John Noll Crisp Award for Technical Excellence from the University of New Orleans. The Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC and the Federal Departments of Homeland Security & Justice also recognize the system, and it meets the highest standards of interoperability functionality as defined by the Federal SAFECOM program.