RD341 - Statewide Agencies Radio System (Stars) Program – October 2016
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 the engineering, installation, maintenance, and operations of the STARS system. The STARS Network including the backbone microwave network, the land mobile radio network, the five Tidewater tunnels and two Western tunnels, and all vehicles for all 21 state agencies were operational.
STARS provides a multi-channel trunked digital voice and data wireless communications capability 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 and one locality 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 add additional capacity through the addition of radio frequencies. However, due to the high number of other entities that utilize similar frequencies, the ability to acquire these for specific sites is becoming difficult. 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 through periodic upgrades will serve the Commonwealth for many years to come.