Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,845,000)
Purpose: Improve police communications and safety for the Tucson Police Department (TPD)
Primary activities: Replace outdated TPD hand-held police radios
Expected outcomes: Better police communications and safety for the Tucson Police Department
Intended beneficiaries: TPD personnel and City of Tucson and Pima County community members
The Tucson Police Department is the law enforcement agency for the City of Tucson, Arizona. It provides services in Tucson and, in collaboration with other regional law enforcement agencies, in Pima County. As a large city 66 miles from the border with Mexico, TPD is one of very few local law enforcement agencies tasked with disrupting the flow of fentanyl into the United States.
Beginning in 2024, Tucson Police Department (TPD) police radios will no longer be supported by the manufacturer and will need to be replaced. Currently, TPD has 804 sworn members (peace officers) and 118 non-sworn Community Service Officers (CSOs). Both sworn members and CSOs are issued hand-held police radios. TPD's total need, at present, is for 922 hand-held police radios, but this number may increase by as much as 120 by the end of Fiscal Year 2024 with current hiring projections. In this grant, TPD is seeking funding for 205 hand-held police radios. As yet, funding has not been identified for the remaining radios.
These new, replacement radios have capabilities beyond TPD's current, soon-to-be-unsupported radios. They have LTE capability and can work wherever there's an active cell tower, even outside the range of local emergency frequencies. They have an LCD screen that can provide TPD members with video, text, photos, and maps, and would be able to receive data from TPD’s real-time crime center. Using GPS, they can show officers on a map the location of other responding units, whether they are in vehicles or on foot. They are more durable, have the ability to add features later, and are expected to have a useful lifespan of at least 10 years. Depending on the model selected, additional features may include encryption, reducing opportunities for police to be ambushed, and triple band, giving greater interoperability with other radio systems. And finally, if Arizona state authorities enter into MOUs with the appropriate entities, as other states have done, these new radios can allow members to run NCIC data by voice command without having to go through dispatch - freeing dispatch for other critical tasks.