New agreement allows UMW to join Stafford’s public safety radio

A pedestrian bridge over Route 1 at Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg. [Photo: Mary Washington University]

The University of Mary Washington (UMW) will be joining Stafford’s public safety radio communications system in an agreement that was approved by the Stafford Board of Supervisors at a recent meeting.

The system is used by first responders in the area to communicate with local authorities and security as events happen in real-time. This agreement would give greater communication ability between the police and UMW which has campuses in both Downtown Fredericksburg and off of Route 17 in Stafford.

According to the agreement’s text, UMW will be allowed to join the service for the next ten years with the cutoff date set on June 30, 2020. The language of the agreement allows for an additional ten years if both the county and UMW can agree to terms at that time.

The deal also states that UMW is responsible for buying and setting up its own gear that must be compatible with the county’s equipment.

Stafford County purchased a 700 MHZ P25 digital radio communications system through a contract with Illinois based telecommunications company Motorola back in December of 2007.
The county concluded that its system is adequate enough to take on the additional subscriber use and provide the system coverage that UMW would need to operate.

In return, UMW will pay a maintenance fee of $30,000 a year to the county which will increase by five percent each year of the ten-year term. This deal would actually help in lowering the county’s own payment for use of the system.

Unlike similar systems in Fredericksburg and Prince William County, the available frequency for the Stafford system is not open and cannot be monitored by the general public.

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