P25 Digital Upgrades
Updated August 28, 2014
Nearly all public safety agencies in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area have completely transitioned from their legacy analog radio systems, and are now fully upgraded to APCO P25 digital. Other departments across Kansas and Missouri will be switching to digital in the very near future.
In 2005-2006, government officials on both sides of the State Line were prompted to upgrade their older analog radios to newer APCO Project 25 digital technology due to aging equipment and lack of interoperability. This region-wide transition initiative began with Independence, MO back in 2006, and ended in mid-2014 with Wyandotte County, KS. There are still some agencies in Clay and Jackson counties who haven't upgraded yet, but that should be changing fairly soon. According to this article and the five-year strategic plan issued by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), Kansas City, MO, Independence, and Johnson County, KS are the primary hosts for a region-wide, fully interoperable P25 digital radio network known as the Metropolitan Area Regional Radio System (MARRS). MARRS includes agencies such as Kansas City, MO Police and Fire, Kansas City, KS Police and Fire, Clay County Sheriff's Office, Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Liberty Police and Fire, Independence Police and Fire, Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office, Gladstone Police and Fire, Platte County Sheriff's Office, Raytown Police and EMS, Raytown Fire Protection District, North Kansas City Police and Fire, Claycomo Police and Fire, Blue Springs Police Dept, Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, Riverside Police and Fire, and all Johnson County, KS Police and Fire agencies. As time goes on, other agencies (such as Grandview Police and Fire, Kearney PD, Mosby PD, and Pleasant Valley Police and Fire) will be ditching their older analog radios and hopping on board with the newer digital technology.
Here's what we've heard (or know) about the future, ongoing, and past radio system projects:
Clay County, MO
- Clay County Sheriff's Office has been using several talkgroups on the KCMO MARRS P25 site (#401) for primary dispatch and other operations. They continue to maintain their VHF repeaters ("Private-1" 155.700 and "Private-2" 159.825) for backup and other uses. Kearney and Mosby PD are both dispatched on the "Private-2" repeater. According to one of our police contacts in that area, Kearney and Mosby will likely be switching over to P25 by the end of this year. Excelsior Springs will probably continue to use their VHF conventional frequencies indefinitely.
Jackson County, MO
Raytown Police and EMS switched over to the KCMO MARRS P25 Site (#401) on August 20th. EMS is still dispatched by Raytown PD. Raytown Fire Protection District went digital last year, and KCFD continues to dispatch for them.
Central Jackson County Fire Protection District will be closing down their dispatch center in the very near future (probably late September or early October). KCFD will take over dispatching operations for the District.
Cass County, MO
- Cass County agencies switched over to the MARRS Regional P25 system (Site #404) back in May. As of this update, Cass County Sheriff's Office, Harrisonville Police and Fire, and most of the rural fire districts have fully transitioned from their older UHF/VHF frequencies to the new system. Belton PD, Peculiar PD, Pleasant Hill PD, and Raymore PD are reported to be on the new system, but they continue to simulcast radio traffic on their old frequencies. All law enforcement agencies (with the exception of Peculiar) are fully encrypted on the new digital system.
Kansas City, KS/Wyandotte County
- Wyandotte County agencies switched over to the MARRS Regional P25 system (Site #302) on June 22nd. KCKPD, Bonner Springs PD, Edwardsville PD, and Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office are fully encrypted for primary dispatch and most other operations.
Douglas and Shawnee County, KS
Douglas County agencies switched over to the Kansas Statewide P25 system on June 17th.
Shawnee County Sheriff's Office and Topeka PD switched over to the new Shawnee County P25 system back in late May. As of this update, Topeka Fire and all rural fire districts are reported to be operating on the new system. AMR Ambulance is the only public safety agency still operating on the older Motorola analog system. It is unknown when they'll switch.
State of Missouri
Implementation of the Missouri Statewide Interoperable Network (MOSWIN) is underway at multiple locations across the State. MSHP Troop A (KC/Lee's Summit) and MSHP Troop H (St. Joseph) recently started transitioning from low band to the new system (mobiles are reported to be fully swapped out, handhelds are not). Low band is reported to be in use in "simulcast" mode at most locations. Other troop locations shouldn't be much farther behind. This P25 digital network will be expanded over the next year or so (however, it appears the project is quickly nearing completion).
Current information suggests that MOSWIN will use narrowband VHF frequencies exclusively, however, some 700/800 MHz has been noted in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, as well as the Northern portion of the State. MOSWIN has already been "linked" in with the Kansas City Metropolitan MARRS system (Sites #401 and 402).
To keep up on the progress and evolution of this system, please follow these forum discussions at radioreference.com: Discussion #1 and Discussion #2.