TACN Frequently Asked Questions
Interoperability is the primary goal in our partnerships with other agencies across the state. To achieve this, we meet with agency stakeholders to evaluate the type of system an agency has in place, whether it is compatible with our P-25 system, the needs of the requesting agency, number of end users, existing capacity, and available infrastructure.
Once we understand the agency’s existing capabilities, current needs, and future plans, we can then determine how to provide access to our statewide interoperability talkgroups as well as evaluate system coverage for the agency. This may be accomplished through augmentation of an agency’s existing infrastructure for mutual use or completed under the build-out plan for additional TACN tower sites.
We encourage agencies to coordinate with all stakeholders not only within their own county, but also adjoining counties that may provide infrastructure as regional partners, as well as the state, with whom they regularly interact during daily operations or during large-scale incidents and events.
Contact us at: 615-253-1781 for more information.
One of the greatest benefits of joining TACN is the interoperability that is critical for responding in today’s heightened threat environment; the ability to communicate across multi-disciplines and multi-jurisdictions with efficiency and in real-time.
Partnering with TACN allows both local agencies and the State to collaborate on fiscal responsibility by leveraging existing infrastructure where possible and by utilizing the availability of funding to accomplish more together.
Agencies that join TACN benefit from the resiliency and geographically redundant core features built into the TACN system, including public safety grade sites with emergency battery and generator backups.
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security has a process in place to refurbish and distribute mobile and portable radios to distressed or at-risk counties. TACN maintains a list of the requests for refurbished radios, and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security may distribute these future surplus radios based on qualifying needs of the requesting agency.
On Jan. 23, 2019, Governor Lee issued his first Executive Order (https://www.tn.gov/governor/news/2019/1/23/gov--bill-lee-issues-first-executive-order-to-address-accelerated-transformation-of-rural-areas.html) to all 22 executive departments to assess rural impact and provide recommendations for improvements to better serve the areas identified as distressed or at-risk counties in Tennessee, all of which were in rural parts of the state.
In 2021, the Tennessee Highway Patrol was budgeted for replacement of all mobile and portable radios for Troopers. As part of the Governor’s initiative to assist rural areas and reduce the number of distressed counties, legislation (https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=SB1560&ga=112) was passed in May 2021 which allowed the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to transfer, without payment of financial consideration and following notice to the Department of General Services commissioner, the surplus radios to other local public safety agencies in a distressed status, and after such consideration, then based on the needs and budgetary constraints of a requesting agency.
These radios have been transferred to distressed counties across the state, helping agencies provide communications assets to their first responders and enhancing interoperability through TACN. The budget for FY2024 includes updating radios for all state agencies on the TACN system. This may make it possible to transfer future surplus radios still compatible for operation on the TACN system.
No. While the TACN system is a Motorola P-25 trunked system, P-25 is an APCO standard (https://www.apcointl.org/technology/interoperability/project-25/) which specifies the system requirements, but it is not a brand-specific standard. Many portable, mobile, and dispatch console radio brands meet P-25 standards. We do strongly encourage any agency that wishes to join TACN to contact us about our system requirements and device compatibility with the TACN system before making purchasing decisions.
TACN is designed to provide coverage most effectively for mobile and portable devices up to the outside of buildings and structures. As with any radio system, building materials such as concrete and steel as well as the size or design of a structure will impact signal strength and in-building penetration. The ability to provide LMR signal inside buildings is not a unique challenge, and for this reason, resources such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) (https://www.nfpa.org/) provides guidance and standards for in-building coverage solutions. These guidelines cover a variety of minimum requirements including installation, maintenance, and use of emergency services communications systems.
When evaluating in-building coverage for any system, agencies should become familiar with any local building codes as well as these standards for coverage requirements for critical areas such as exit stairs, elevators, standpipe cabinets, and sprinkler valve locations.
TACN works closely with Motorola engineers and consultants to review and update our maps for mobile and portable coverage to areas outside buildings. Coverage maps help the design team make informed decisions about where to build new tower sites. They can also work with our TACN partners or those who are considering joining TACN to provide more detailed information about coverage for their area.