P25 Digital Upgrades
Updated November 28, 2015
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 Project 25 digital. Other departments across Kansas and Missouri will be switching to digital as time goes on.
In 2005-2006, government officials on both sides of the State Line were prompted to upgrade their older analog radios to the newer APCO P25 technology due to aging equipment and lack of interoperability. This region-wide transition initiative began with Independence, MO in 2006, and ended in July 2015 with Grandview, MO joining the MARRS Regional System. There are still a few agencies in Clay and Jackson counties who haven't upgraded, but that should be changing at some point. 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" (or master sites) for the 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, Gladstone Police and Fire, Liberty Police and Fire, Pleasant Valley Police and Fire, North Kansas City Police and Fire, all Cass County Police and Fire agencies, all Platte County Police and Fire agencies, Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office, Claycomo Police and Fire, Raytown Police and EMS, Raytown Fire Protection District, Grandview Police and Fire, Ft. Osage Fire Protection District, Riverside Police and Fire, Independence Police and Fire, Blue Springs Police Department, Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, and all Johnson County, KS Police and Fire agencies. As time goes on, other agencies (such as Excelsior Springs Police Department, Kearney Police Department, and Lee's Summit Police and Fire) will ditch their older analog radios and hop on board with the newer digital technology.
Here's what we've heard (or know) about the future, ongoing, and past radio system upgrade projects:
Clay County, MO
- The following Clay County agencies use the Kansas City, MO MARRS P25 Site (#401) for dispatch and primary operations: Clay County Sheriff's Office, Claycomo Police and Fire, Pleasant Valley Police and Fire, Gladstone Police and Fire, North Kansas City Police and Fire, and Liberty Police and Fire. Clay County Sheriff's Office continues to maintain their VHF repeaters ("Private 1" 155.700, "Private 2" 159.825, and "Countywide" 155.730) for backup and other uses. Kearney PD is dispatched on the "Private 2" repeater. According to one of our contacts in that area, Kearney will likely be switching over to digital at some point (after almost a year, that has yet to occur. Not sure what the holdup is). Excelsior Springs is weighing their options regarding the transition to P25, however, they will likely remain on their current VHF conventional frequencies for the foreseeable future.
Jackson County, MO
- The following Jackson County agencies use the Kansas City, MO MARRS P25 Site (#401) for dispatch and primary operations: Jackson County Sheriff's Office and Park Rangers, Buckner Police, Grain Valley Police, Greenwood Police, Lake Lotawana Police, Lake Tapawingo Police, Lone Jack Police, Oak Grove Police, Raytown Police and EMS, and Grandview Police and Fire. Raytown Fire Protection District also uses the KCMO Site, and they continue to maintain their dispatch agreement with KCFD. Jackson County Sheriff's Office has completed relocation to their new headquarters. They added two 700 MHz sites in Lone Jack (MARRS Site #405) and Oak Grove (MARRS Site #406) to increase coverage in those areas, however, they continue to simulcast on the MARRS KCMO (#401) and Eastern Jackson County (#402) sites.
The following Jackson County agencies use the MARRS East Jackson County Simulcast Site (#402) for dispatch and primary operations: Blue Springs Police Department, Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, Independence Police and Fire, Lake City Security and Fire, and Ft. Osage Fire. Lee's Summit is currently discussing a move to the MARRS P25 system. One of our PD contacts out there says it will definitely happen, however, the cutover time frame is unknown (presently, the city is working out some budgetary issues. Those of us who are familiar with City politics knows that's typically a very slow process). They will likely remain on their current UHF analog setup until the "powers that be" make a decision. Some of the fire departments dispatched (via contract) by Lee's Summit (Sni Valley, Prairie Township, Lone Jack, and Lotawana could transition to P25 within the next year or so (most of those departments are still exploring options at this point, so nothing written in stone just yet).
Cass County, MO
- All Cass County public safety agencies are reported to be fully switched to the MARRS Cass County Simulcast Site (#404). Some of the city and rural fire departments have elected to keep their VHF repeaters intact for personnel paging/alerting (those include Belton FD, Pleasant Hill FD, Central Cass Fire, Creighton Fire, Drexel Fire, Dolan-West Dolan Fire, East Lynne Fire, Garden City Fire, and West Peculiar Fire). All others are using the P25 system 100% of the time. All law enforcement agencies remain fully encrypted (we don't expect that to change).
Shawnee County, KS
- All Shawnee County public safety agencies (including Shawnee County Sheriff's Office, Topeka PD/FD, etc) switched to their new countywide P25 system last year. The only real significant change to report as of this update is that AMR Ambulance has completely moved over from the legacy Motorola analog system.
State of Missouri
- Implementation of the Missouri Statewide Interoperable Network (MOSWIN) is underway at multiple locations across the State. MSHP Troop A (Lee's Summit/KC) and MSHP Troop H (St. Joseph) are still in the process of transitioning from low band to the new system (mobiles are fully swapped out, however, the dispatch consoles and portable radios are not). Low band is reported to be in "simulcast" mode at most locations. Other troop locations are either fully operational on P25 or shouldn't be much farther behind. The MOSWIN system will continue to be expanded (however, it appears the project is quickly nearing completion).
Current information suggests that MOSWIN will use narrowband VHF frequencies exclusively, however, some 700 MHz sites have been introduced in Columbia, Joplin, St. Louis, and in Northern portions of the State. MOSWIN has been "linked" in with the Kansas City Metropolitan Radio System (MARRS) via ISSI (on sites #401, #402, and #404).
- To keep up on the progress and evolution of this system, please follow this forum discussion at radioreference.com: Discussion #1.