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"Develop and provide the highest level of standardized interoperable public safety and public service communications in accordance with the Code of Iowa."

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"All public safety and public service entities in and around Iowa can access and utilize interoperable communications systems."

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The Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System (ISICS) is a statewide radio platform that provides microwave-based radio communication to public safety agencies and others, border to border in the State of Iowa, to improve public safety across the state. Law enforcement officers, First Responders and others often need to be able to talk to each other, clearly and immediately, in many significant situations that affect public safety, such as:

  • Natural disasters (floods, tornadoes, blizzards, storms)
  • Emergencies (active shooter, mass casualty, fires)
  • Large events (coordinating crowds, equipment, traffic)

Interoperability allows many different users to talk with each other on a robust system. The national initiative to improve interoperability began after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when lives were lost because fire and police officers could not talk with each other during the attack and the immediate aftermath. More lives could have been saved, if First Responders had been able to talk with each other.

The result of that catastrophic failure was a nationwide focus on interoperability, which brings many agencies and individuals together on a single system. They can run their own operations on separate channels, but during significant events, they are able to communicate on joint channels.

Iowa began its journey toward interoperability with legislation enacted in 2007. The Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System (ISICS) Board was established in that legislation, within the Department of Public Safety and with shared responsibility by the Department of Transportation.

The ISICS Board includes representatives of First Responders from across the state and from across the spectrum of potential users. The Board has developed policies for the coordinated use of the statewide network, and has overseen the development of the statewide system.

The ISICS radio system, designed by Motorola Solutions, began construction in 2016.

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ISICS 2023 Year-End Totals

Year-end Radios
Year-end Talkgroups
Year-End PTTs
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ISICS Tower Site Map

Tower sites

Click HERE for a PDF version of the ISICS Tower Site Map

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ISICS Tower Site List

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Current ISICS Users

ISICS Radio Users

As of December 2023, the System has 145 interconnected tower sites and 34,294 user radios, with monthly Push-to-talk (PTT) numbers nearing 3 million per month. This System is in use and necessary for successful communications in Iowa. A complete user list is in Appendix B.

ISICSB has worked to engage county and local membership. State agencies use ISICS for daily operability and interoperability when the need to work across jurisdictions or disciplines arises. Adoption of ISICS by local entities for operability has been robust; along with operability inherently comes interoperability with all others on the System. 

Creating the path for interoperability between public safety and school officials through the ISICS redundant and resilient communication system enhances safety for all. The School Safety Initiative announced in 2022 has allowed Iowa schools to order 1,253 ISICS-capable radios, allowing for public safety grade emergency alerting at the push of a button.

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Join the Iowa Statewide Interoperability Communications System (ISICS)

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Iowa was recently awarded a $1.8 million grant through the Rural Emergency Medical Communications Demonstration Project (REMCDP) to assist with EMS communications.  Click on the link for more info.

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