The Mission-Critical Resource Center

MCP's Support Helps Story County, Iowa Replace Obsolete Radio System

In Summary:

  • The public safety radio system used by county, city and university agencies was near end of life and was experiencing significant performance and maintenance issues.
  • The county partnered with Mission Critical Partners to support its efforts to procure a new radio system.
  • Some users have operated on a temporary bridge system since February 2020; the migration of all users to the full system is expected to be complete by mid-2021.

Background

Story County, Iowa, is located in the center of the state and has a population of about 98,000. Its largest city is Ames, which is home to Iowa State University (ISU), the state capital and is is located about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

The radio system used by the county’s public safety entities—which include ISU’s on-campus police department and department of public safety, the Story County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ames police and fire departments—had been implemented in 1989 and over time became almost entirely obsolete. Much of the equipment had reached end of life, making it difficult to procure replacement parts, which in turn made maintenance extremely difficult. Moreover, the system itself was not considered to be public safety grade, with numerous coverage, capacity and reliability issues that plagued users. Finally, an unresponsive vendor added to these frustrations.  

How MCP Helped

The MCP team supported StoryComm throughout the procurement process, which included helping to develop technical specifications and the request for proposals (RFP) document, offering vendor-neutral insights, and helping the working group evaluate each proposed system.

“MCP gathered information from users outside of the working group and was able to give us a 10,000-foot view of what those user groups and agencies were looking for,” said Nick Lennie, captain and chief deputy, Story County Sheriff’s Office. “Once we knew what our users wanted, the MCP team helped us to distill the pros and cons of each system being presented, and helped us to ask the tough questions about things like customer service, system management, and vendor support.”

The new temporary system already has improved coverage, capacity, and reliability for users.

To learn more, download the case study using the form provided below.