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STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTING AN 800MHz RADIO SYSTEM IN THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ... - page 8 / 54

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implications on the personnel at the scene of emergencies. As a result of obsolescence

and the incompatibility of new technology with the existing system, no substantive

upgrade, short of a complete equipment replacement, initiative was technically possible.

The County Board of Supervisors signed a $21 million contract in December

1999 to replace the existing obsolete and unreliable public safety radio system. A new

state-of -the-art 800 MHz radio system is currently being built and is planned to be fully

operational by April 2003.

The problem is that an implementation plan has not been developed to transition

into the new radio system. The new radio system will have a profound effect on how we

currently do business. A successful transition to the new radio system will require a well

thought out and coordinated implementation plan. A failure to properly implement the

new radio system could waste a $21 million investment and hinder the Department of

Fire and Rescue from accomplishing its basic mission of ensuring the delivery of quality,

efficient, and effective fire protection, emergency management services and timely

responses to the community of Prince William County.

Prince William County is located in Northern Virginia approximately 35 miles

southwest of Washington, D.C. It is bounded on the north by Fairfax and Loudoun

Counties, on the east by the Potomac River (Maryland), on the south by Stafford County

and Quantico Marine Corp Base and on the west by Fauquier County (Appendix B).

Prince William County encompasses a total area of 348 square miles. Prince

William County includes within its boundaries the independent cities of Manassas and

Manassas Park. Prince William County also includes four incorporated towns of

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