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North Fulton Cities Transfer Public Safety Radio Operations

Apr 28, 2015

The North Fulton Regional Radio System Authority (NFRRSA) reached an important milestone this week, as the radio systems used by public safety personnel in the cities of Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell and Sandy Springs were transferred from Fulton County to new systems operated by NFRRSA.  The consortium was formed in 2013 with the goal of creating a locally controlled and locally funded, comprehensive public safety radio system.

“Public safety is paramount, and response time a true ‘life or death’ factor. We embarked on this program back in 2009, intent on finding the best solution to upgrade the systems we were using, which were more than 20 years old, failing and provided no viable back-up. The new system is representative of collaboration and a focus on common goals, ensuring our public safety personnel are expeditiously able to communicate and respond to an emergency,” said John McDonough, Sandy Springs City Manager and Chairman of the NFRRSA.

The completed system replaces radio dispatch consoles at three 911 centers, Alpharetta, ChatComm and Roswell, providing redundant microwave links to each of the sites. Individual transmitter positions provide enhanced capacity as backup in case of a power grid loss. 

Coverage area also improves with the new system, enabling enhanced in-building coverage to public safety users. The system utilizes eight transmitter sites geographically located around the North Fulton area, encompassing Buckhead to the Forsyth, Cherokee, Cobb and Gwinnett county borders.

The system cost the NFRRSA approximately $14M to design and build, with the cost share among the participating cities based on city population, square miles of coverage, and number of radios needed by public safety personnel.

Following two years of discussion and planning between the North Fulton cities, the NFRRSA was established on July 1, 2013, created by state House Bill 526, and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal on April 30, 2013.  The City Manager from each city comprises the Authority’s board, and each city has a representative on the Authority’s technical committee. 

The construction contractor for the project was Midland Communications Inc.; Architectural and Engineering services were provided by AMEC; Consulting and Engineering review were directed by COMMDEX; and the Equipment Provider was Motorola Solutions Inc.