RD243 - Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS) Program - October 2014

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.

Effective July 1, 2011, the Virginia State Police Communications Division assumed responsibility for the engineering, installation, maintenance, and operations of the STARS Network. The STARS Network (including the backbone microwave network, the land mobile radio network, the five Tidewater tunnels and two western tunnels, and vehicles for all 21 state agencies) was operational.

STARS provides multi-channel, trunked, digital, voice and data wireless communications specifically designed to meet APCO Project 25 public safety requirements. The core network was built on the legacy Virginia State Police microwave radio network through upgrades to Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) ring-protected transmission paths. This network supports the 21 participating state agencies throughout the Commonwealth and facilitates interoperability with other state, local, and federal agencies.

The design of STARS was the culmination of a partnership with the Commonwealth, the project’s engineering consultant, AECOM Design (formerly Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, Inc. (HSMM) / CTA Communications), and Motorola. The design considered: 1) meeting the needs of participants, 2) utilizing existing resources where possible, and 3) minimizing risk. STARS allows the Commonwealth to retain a high level of service and security and the flexibility to enhance capacity through additional radio frequencies. In all applicable design components, STARS has addressed safeguards to system security, including controlled system access, and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for law enforcement users. The system infrastructure will serve the Commonwealth for many years to come.