Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department Public Safety Radio Communications Upgrade

Cook County is the second largest county in the U.S. and home to more than 40% of all the residents in Illinois. The Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department is the third largest police department in Illinois, with more than 500 officers and 100 civilian personnel. The department’s primary responsibility is to provide basic police services to the 109,000 residents who work and reside in the unincorporated areas of the county. These 72 square miles are sporadically pocketed in between the 128 municipalities and within the 946 square miles that are encompassed by the borders of Cook County. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Police has several specialized units that provide services to suburban police departments on a mutual aid basis.

The Sheriff’s Police needed a full upgrade of its radio systems to meet new U.S. Department of Homeland Security requirements for disaster preparedness. The new requirements called for battery backup and generator run times that substantially exceeded their system’s capacity. Conditioned power was also a critical issue, as the manufacturer of their existing power protection system had gone out of business, leaving it unsupported.

Level-1 was hired to install a modern communications system for the County Sheriff, including county jails and police stations. Level-1 surveyed the county’s existing system, including 30 radio towers and various networks, and made recommendations for improvement. Level-1 then installed a customized and modern system with power protection and security features.

As a subcontractor to Motorola, Level-1 surveyed the 30+ radio towers across the Sheriff’s various communication network to assess their needs and made recommendations for power protection solutions specific to each tower’s new Motorola radio system. Level-1 then installed a customized and modern system with power protection and security features at county jails and detention centers. Outmoded radio systems in dispatch and first-responder centers (e.g. police stations, fire houses) were also replaced with consoles, each with its own custom power protection solution.

Level-1 developed a power protection plan that was compatible with both the new radio equipment and the Department of Homeland Security’s newest requirements for extended generator run times. The three-tier power solution for each tower comprised a UPS and battery backup (Tier 1), an installed generator with automated transfer switch within the tower base (Tier 2), and two mobile trucks, both equipped with transfer switches and refuellable generators (Tier 3), that could be deployed under mission-critical circumstances to provide power to towers whose generator fuel supply had been expended, cut or otherwise disabled.

To ensure communication-tower access to power in the event of an emergency, Level-1 designed a system involving mobile power supplies to serve both the northern and southern parts of the county. The mobile generators, riding on two trucks supplied to and maintained by Cook County, can be easily refueled via a secondary mobile source carrying diesel fuel. Level-1’s solution allows the on-board generators within any radio tower to provide power indefinitely.