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Communications Division

Administrative Headquarters
7700 Midlothian Turnpike
North Chesterfield, VA 23235

Division Commander:
Captain L.W. "Lee" Miller, III

Phone:   (804) 674-2176
Fax:       (804) 674-2602
E-mail:   communications@vsp.virginia.gov
Mailing Address:
Fax: 804-674-2602
Phone: 804-674-2176
E-mail: communications@vsp.virginia.gov

Responsibility for the proper installation, operation, and maintenance of telephone, land mobile radio, and microwave radios is assigned to the Communications Division. 

Under the command of the Communications Officer, the division designs, installs, operates, and maintains land mobile radios, microwave radios, and private telephone networks. 

The system includes 84 microwave radio sites, 45 of which also have land mobile radio base stations. This responsibility includes compliance with requirements of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as other environmental and safety agencies.

Staffing

The Division is staffed by 64 persons, divided into 12 teams. The teams are responsible for:

Communications System Upgrade

Work on the Communications System Upgrade continues. Of the 23 sites considered to be the backbone of the microwave system, 19 have been converted to digital service. The FCC has assigned 2 GHz microwave frequencies that the Department had been using to companies providing Personal Communications Services (PCS). The PCS providers were required to relocate incumbent microwave users at no expense. Work is underway to relocate the last of the microwave stations affected by this change. Cooperative development or collocation agreements continue to fund equipment upgrades from analog to digital microwave system. Five additional sections of the system are presently planned for upgrade.

The division isupports all field efforts of the consultant selected to design and engineer the upgraded State Police land mobile radio network which will serve all of the Commonwealth’s state level public safety agencies. Licenses have been obtained from the FCC for the necessary frequencies, and planning continues.

Virginia State Police Mobile Computer Project

Mobile Data TerminalThe Virginia State Police formed a committee in 1996 to study the possibility of connecting patrol vehicles by use of wireless technology to several criminal information systems. Equipment and software packages were evaluated. Both Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) and Circuit Switched CDPD wireless technologies were available in certain areas statewide. On May 16, 1997 the National Institute of Justice awarded the State Police a grant in the amount of $348,392 to initiate a pilot MCT project. The department deployed 31 units throughout the state of Virginia for testing to include “seamless connectivity” using both wireless technologies. By the end of the projects two-year cycle enough information was collected through user questionnaires and lessons learned to plan for the next level, the Upgrade.

The primary scope of the new upgrade project would be the expansion of mobile data into key areas of the State through the procurement and implementation of 487 new mobile laptop terminals. With the basic infrastructure already in place, a committee was selected to research and recommend new mobile hardware and software that would increase the Troopers effectiveness in performance of certain duties. The additional mobile computers were targeted for a phased purchase and installation to begin in June 2001. To further enhance the mobile computer system features a “Mobile Flash server” would be included in the project for system wide dissemination of important information, and updates to software over the wireless network. Wireless service would be continued through the CDPD commercial network, and transition to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology in early 2005. This is the latest commercial wireless technology providing a maximum data transition speed of 115Kbps.

More Virginia State Troopers are now patrolling the highways with a powerful information tool once limited to a handful of select officers. Since June of 2001 the phased process of procuring and installing 487 new mobile computer terminals (MCT’s) is now complete. The upgrade project has placed new Panasonic models CF-28 and CF-29 into vehicles patrolling Central, Northern, Southeastern, and the Interstate 81 corridor of Virginia. Features like mobile messaging allow for “car to car” communication and information exchange, devoid of typical two- way radio range limits. The interfacing of computer aided dispatch (CAD) with the MCT ’s now allows for silent dispatch. Most importantly the Troopers are able to query the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN). In addition to VCIN Troopers can access the Division of Motor Vehicles database, National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and the National Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (NLETS). Mobile access to these resources has proven to cut two- way radio traffic by up to 25% or more, helping to alleviate congestion on a heavily loaded communications system now 25 plus years old. Access to these resources along with the addition of map/location software, and vehicle identification number software expedites the Troopers “information gathering” prior to making traffic stops on the Interstate.

The current MCT upgrade project ended in December 2004 at a projected cost of $ 3.7 million. The 487 new MCT units equipped roughly 25% of the Departments current fleet of patrol cars in the more heavily populated areas of the State. The next phase for expansion of mobile data throughout the State will come through integration into a new Statewide Voice and Data Communications System currently under construction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should I call from my cellular phone when I have an emergency while driving?
If you specifically require assistance from the Virginia State Police, dial #77. If you wish to speak to the local police or sheriff's office, dial 9-1-1. In areas where the locality is unable or unwilling to do so, the State Police also handles wireless 9-1-1 calls and transfers them to the appropriate agency.

Can I get a copy of the Virginia State Police 10 codes?
The codes are exempt from Virginia's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under § 2.1-342.01(A)(57) and (A)(69). The codes are not available for public distribution. However, it is the practice of the Department to use "plain text" (uncoded) English whenever communicating or coordinating with other agencies.

Are there employment opportunities within the Communications Division?
There are numerous challenging opportunities to work in the Communications Division, either as a paid employee or volunteer worker. Jobs are technical, administrative, and clerical in nature. All employees and volunteers must pass a background investigation, and have the skills to perform the work. Technicians must obtain an FCC license or equivalent within six months of employment. Applicants must pass a comprehensive written test of electronic theory in order to be considered for employment. For current openings, see our VSP Civilian Employment Opportunities page.