Communications and Information Sharing

Providing Kentucky’s first responders with the ability to effectively communicate and share information is the commonwealth’s No. 1 public safety priority.


Voice interoperability is the ability for public-safety officials to share information via voice signals on demand, in real time, when needed, and as authorized.

The need to ensure that our state’s first responders can communicate with one another when needed is vital in our efforts to keep Kentucky safe. In partnership with the Kentucky State Police and Commonwealth’s Office of Technology, the state is making great strides towards fulfilling this all-important goal.

Every first responder in Kentucky has the ability to communicate with one another during an incident. Read more to find out how.

Mutual Aid

The Mutual Aid project provides every first responder with the ability to communicate during an incident. Mutual Aid interoperability is the capability for agencies to tune into a dedicated frequency using a standard protocol in order to establish interoperable voice communications with other first responders at the scene of an emergency.

The Mutual Aid project includes an enhancement to Kentucky’s existing three frequencies, 150 MHz, 450 MHz, and 800 MHz, to create inter-channel connectivity--the ability to communicate within each of the three frequencies.

The project also includes an inter-channel connectivity component that links the three frequencies, thus providing full interoperability across the frequency spectrum--all first responders can talk regardless of frequency when tuned to the appropriate mutual-aid channel.

Agencies interested in utilizing this free service must sign and return the Memorandum of Understanding and return it to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.


SAFECOM is a pilot project provided to Kentucky by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enhance interoperable communications throughout the commonwealth.

To date, numerous meetings have been held with first responders to determine their needs in order to construct the interoperability road map for the state. A direct result of these meetings featured legislation passed by the 2006 General Assembly revamping Kentucky’s tax on cell phones. The legislation increased funding to local 9-1-1 centers and created a new grant fund to help centers upgrade their equipment and merge together.

Additionally, the General Assembly agreed to pay for all mobile data system maintenance and mandated that locals will not be charged to use the system or for its maintenance. The next steps for interoperability will be to re-energize the Kentucky Wireless Interoperability Executive Committee which has been tasked to write the blueprint to reach full statewide interoperability.

Kentucky Emergency Warning System

The Kentucky Emergency Warning System is a statewide telecommunications network designed to be shared by a wide range of state agencies. The KEWS utilizes 144 wireless radio tower sites throughout the state with reliable battery and generator backup that provides an “always on” microwave backbone (transport) for state public-safety agencies.

Authorized by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1976, service was initiated on the system in 1979. The original system is still being used by the commonwealth, not only by the agencies for which it was specifically designed – the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, Kentucky Educational Television, Kentucky State Police, Kentucky Department for Military Affairs, and the National Weather Service – but also by local agencies such as county sheriffs, fire and 911 dispatch, and emergency- medical personnel.


Data interoperability is the ability of public-safety officials to share information via data signals on demand, in real time, when needed, and as authorized. The use of mobile-data communications in the roadside environment is the fastest emerging technology tool to assist first responders.

Kentucky Open Portal Solution

The Kentucky Open Portal Solution program, headed by Kentucky’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, allows officers to submit vehicle collision reports electronically. Now the system includes programs for reporting crime, traffic citations, warnings, and other information to include a new intelligence report function.

Through the electronic-intelligence function, law- enforcement officers can inform the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center of suspicious behavior that could be related to terrorism or other crime.

The KIFC receives this intelligence information within seconds of the officer completing the report. Upon receipt, KIFC staff determines what to do with the information--file for future reference, contact the submitting agency for additional information, or forward it to the FBI and/or Joint Terrorism Task Force .

More than 90 percent of law-enforcement agencies in Kentucky use at least one of the KyOPS applications.

Kentucky Wireless Interoperability Network System

Kentucky Wireless Interoperability Network System provides first responders across the state with instant messaging communications capabilities.

KYWINS allows all public-safety users on the state’s wireless data system to exchange messages with one another from mobile-data computers inside response vehicles or from a stationary computer. The program can also quickly broadcast a message to all users within seconds. Mobile-data messaging technology provides a redundant form of communication for public- safety officials if voice communication is unavailable.

The project is the result of a collaborative effort between the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Commonwealth Office of Technology, and the Center for Rural Development.

911/Enhanced 911

The state Office of the 9-1-1 Coordinator/Commercial Mobile Radio Service Board is administratively attached to Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. CMRS works to improve the effectiveness and reliability of Kentucky’s wireless 9-1-1 service by providing dispatchers with the greatest possible information on wireless calls.

The wireless Enhanced 9-1-1, or E9-1-1, program is divided into two parts - Phase I and Phase II. Phase I requires carriers, upon valid request by a local Public Safety Answering Point, to report the telephone number of a wireless 9-1-1 caller and the location of the antenna that received the call. Phase II requires wireless carriers to provide far more precise location information, within 50 to 300 meters in most cases.

The deployment of Enhanced 9-1-1 requires the development of new technologies and upgrades to local 9-1-1 PSAPs, as well as coordination among public-safety agencies and the private sector.

e-Warrant System

The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security's e-Warrants Project is revolutionizing the method of issuing, servicing and clearing warrants across the commonwealth by implementing a system that is accessible by all criminal-justice personnel.

On any given day, there are an estimated 300,000 unserved warrants in Kentucky. Kentucky has no statewide system for issuing, tracking, and serving most warrants. As a result, all counties experience difficulties with accessing the information needed to serve warrants. To combat these issues, KOHS is providing sponsorship and senior project management for the development and implementation of the Kentucky e-Warrants system.

The system is also designed to work on mobile-data terminals that do not have in-car Internet connectivity through a warrants module added to the Kentucky Open Portal Solution.

Communications and Information Sharing