Today, Senators Randy Vulakovich (R-38) and Bob Mensch (R-24), the current and past Chairmen of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, introduced legislation that would increase oversight of the statewide radio project. Under Senate Bill 1157, the Auditor General would be required to audit and review issues related to the statewide radio system.
Originally created in 1996, the statewide radio system, (StarNet), was supposed to replace the state’s aging and incompatible systems with state-of-the art communications technology. Now — more than 20 years later — problems remain in achieving interoperability of radio equipment among state and local agencies. The State Police recently began a reboot of the project, implementing the first two phases of their P25 Pilot, which is a set of standards created through joint efforts with the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and is aimed at achieving interoperability amongst state and local agencies.
“Over the past two decades, numerous issues have arisen in regard to the statewide radio system and we intend to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely in the future,” said Senator Vulakovich. “Having spent 27 years in law enforcement, I know the importance of interagency communications in emergencies.”
“StarNet has cost well over $700 million.” said Senator Mensch. “We must get this system right and I believe it is essential that the Auditor General be a partner in the process to ensure that state resources are being used properly.”