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Interoperable Communications

Illinois Interoperability Field Operations Guide

The Illinois Interoperability Field Operations Guide (I2FOG) is a collection of technical reference material to aid Illinois Communications Unit personnel in establishing communications solutions during emergency incidents and planned events.

Illinois Interoperability Field Operations G​uide 2020​

Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP)

The latest version of the Illinois' Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP) has been officially accepted by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois State Police, Illinois Terrorism Task Force, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Emergency Services Management Association, Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, and Chicago/Cook County Urban Area.

The plan identifies a statewide strategy that focuses on establishing a single platform so all public safety agencies can share emergency information. The development of the SCIP was a cooperative effort by a consortium of federal, state, and local public safety practitioners working through the Illinois Terrorism Task Force's Communications Committee and the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee. Annual reviews/updates to the SCIP will be conducted under the auspices of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

Download a complete copy of the Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan, Illinois: A State of Interoperability, Sept 2016 (1MB)

Statewide Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP)

Illinois recognizes the need for immediate interagency communications, interoperability, and cooperation. Effective prevention, protection, response and recovery to incidents, whether natural or man-made, mandate instant interoperability and cooperation from local to State to federal response agencies. Effective communication requires coordination, collaboration, and a method of resolving conflicts.

This document establishes a Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP) for the State Agencies of Illinois, inclusive of Illinois Homeland Security Statewide Regions and closely aligned non-governmental organizations. The TICP is intended to document the interoperable communication resources available to Illinois State entities, who controls each resource, and what rules of use or operational procedures exist for the activation and deactivation of each resource. Many of the assets identified in this plan are also available to county and local agencies. The use of those assets will be covered in their tactical plans.

The development of this TICP was a cooperative effort by a working group comprised of representatives from each of the State Agencies participating in the Plan. The make-up of the workgroup ensured that the interests and needs of each participating agency were addressed during development of the plan.

Download a complete copy of the Statewide Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP), January 2017, Version 2.4​.

A shortened guide can be found here for helpful information regarding the VHF and UHF state level interoperability channels ISPERN, IREACH, IFERN, POINT, and MABAS firegrounds. The guide also includes recommended VHF and UHF programming templates incorporating the national interoperable pool channels.

Illinois Transportable Emergency Communications System (ITECS)

In 2006, the ITTF placed nine Illinois Transportable Emergency Communications System (ITECS) suites throughout the state. The ITECS has a robust communications capability to ensure communications interoperability at the site of a major disaster.

The suites are sophisticated mobile communications packages with multiple systems that are housed around the state and are available to deploy anywhere in Illinois to enhance or replace local emergency response communications following any disaster or incident. Each ITECS suite contains two laptop computers, a satellite Internet system, radios and repeaters, chargers and backup batteries, a multi-line telephone system, a 50-foot communications tower and one 10,000 watt diesel generator.

Each ITECS suite is staffed by three personnel: a supervisor/frequency manager, an electronics/computer technician, and a mechanical technician. These personnel received special training on the equipment and attend a training workshop each year to keep current in equipment operations. The communications suite and tow vehicle cost nearly $400,000. Funding for the equipment came from the U.S. Department of Homeland security federal preparedness grant.

State Radio Communications System for the 21st Century (Starcom21)

Starcom21 is an APCO Project-25 Trunked Radio System for voice and data operations for the State of Illinois.

As the state's interoperable platform, Starcom21 also provides radio communications and interoperability to federal, state, and local public safety agencies. ISPERN radio transmissions are cross patched creating interoperability on Starcom21. Other VHF frequencies may be bridged into the network in the future. Starcom21 provides radio coverage in more than 98 percent of the geographic area of Illinois with a failure rate of 5 percent or less. The legislation that established the State Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) also established a Starcom21 Oversight Committee, with voting membership, to reflect the user base of the system. The Oversight Committee is establishing guidelines and practices for use of the system so that one group of users will not negatively affect another group operating on the system. Each individual agency using Starcom21 agrees to abide by the guidance given by the Starcom21 Oversight Committee.

The Starcom21 Oversight Committee, statutorily chaired by the Illinois State Police, was established by state legislation in 2006. The Oversight Committee was called to order after the final system acceptance of Starcom21 in 2008. The Oversight Committee is made up of various public safety disciplines that are representative of users of the Starcom21 network. The Oversight Committee is responsible for approving requests for use of the system based on the potential impact on current Starcom21 users and must, as well, review all requests for patches, bridges, or gateways to the system. The Committee also reviews requests for adding additional users and directs the vendor in the appropriate methodologies to be used in addressing requests from potential users.

The State of Illinois and Motorola Solutions have entered into a 10 year contract to provide the State of Illinois' interoperable communications platform. STARCOM21 provides interoperable communications to state, local, federal, and approved non-governmental agencies. For more detailed information including fee structures or to download the contract please visit the Illinois BidBuy website.