Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS)

Graphic:  STARS logo

Captain Thomas A. Bradshaw, Communications Officer

The Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS) provides multi-channel trunked digital voice and data wireless communications that are specifically designed for public safety and service requirements, based on Project 25 technology.  The design, construction and implementation of STARs began in 2004 and became one of the first states in the nation to employ an Integrated Voice and Data (IV&D) land mobile radio architecture. Integrating the voice and data networks saves the Commonwealth the expense of a separate data infrastructure and installation of additional radio/modem in each vehicle. This infrastructure also provides Over-the-Air Re-Keying (OTAR) of the radio encryption, allows different functional groupings of people to communicate privately within their own organizational elements as “talk-groups,” even while located in different parts of the state.

The STARS contract provides for essential public safety grade communications that can operate seamlessly throughout the Commonwealth for the following 21 state agencies and facilitate interoperability with local governments and federal agencies:

  • Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs
  • Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • Capitol Police
  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Police
  • Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Department of Corrections
  • Department of Emergency Management
  • Department of Environmental Quality
  • Department of Fire Programs
  • Department of Forestry
  • Department of Wildlife Resources
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Department of Military Affairs
  • Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Department of State Police
  • Department of Transportation
  • Virginia Marine Resources Commission
  • Virginia Information Technologies Agency
  • Virginia Port Authority
  • Federal Partnership for
    Interoperable Communications (FPIC)

Each participating agency is represented through the User Agencies Requirements Committee (UARC), which meets as necessary, but at least once a quarter. The specific duties of UARC are to advise on the needs of member agencies for the planning, design, establishment, and operation of STARS, provide advice on proposals for other federal, state, or local agencies to join STARS and on any proposals for third party use of any STARS infrastructure or component, and assist the STARS Management Team with the development of a comprehensive management plan and procedures for the operation of STARS.

When in June 2001, Executive Order 76 officially recognized STARS, it also established the STARS Management Group, a board composed of the Secretaries of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Technology, Transportation, Natural Resources, and Finance, and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. The board provides policy direction and overall governance for STARS and reviews procurement solicitations and contracts.

STARS also supports Virginia’s interoperability network, known as COMLINC. In small and wide-scale emergencies, localities may be connected to each other using COMLINC, thus providing ad hoc regional intercommunications. This has been used successfully in situations ranging from the State Fair to a Presidential visit to a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement activity.

Frequently Asked Questions and other technical information