RD203 - Report on the Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS) Program - October 2012

Executive Summary:
Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, State Police Superintendent and Mr. Mark Moon, Vice President and General Manager of Motorola, signed a $329 million contract between Motorola and the Commonwealth of Virginia for the design, construction, and implementation of the Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS) on July 13, 2004. A ceremonial contract signing was held on July 16, 2004, in conjunction with a press conference.

The STARS Network, including the five Tidewater tunnels and two Western tunnels, has been completed and all 21 state agencies are operational.

STARS provides multi-channel trunked digital voice and data wireless communications that are specifically designed for public safety requirements, based on APCO Project 25 technology. The prior State Police microwave radio network’s technology and capacity has been upgraded and disaster recovery alternate paths were added. The STARS contract provided for essential public safety grade communications that operate seamlessly throughout the Commonwealth for the 21 state agencies and facilitate interoperability with local governments and federal agencies.

The STARS design is a culmination of partnering with the Commonwealth, the project’s engineering consultant AECOM Design, formerly Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, Inc., (HSMM) / CTA Communications, and Motorola. Meeting needs, utilizing existing resources, and minimizing risk were heavily weighted design parameters in developing the STARS contract. Capitalizing on existing infrastructure and resources, whenever possible, benefited the Commonwealth in the ability to implement STARS in a cost effective manner. Finally, design risk was minimized through the use of Motorola, a proven system integrator and communications manufacturer, along with the use of a redundant, fault-tolerant, hierarchal design that allows for re-routing in case of a single point of failure. The wireless communications system for the Commonwealth of Virginia contains today’s latest technology. STARS allows the Commonwealth to retain a high level of service and security, plus flexibility to add more users when additional radio frequencies are available. In all applicable design components, STARS has addressed safeguards to system security, including controlled system access, and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption for law enforcement users. The system infrastructure will serve the Commonwealth for many years to come.