The state Board of Examiners voted Tuesday to spend $16.1 million on new radio gear for the Nevada Highway Patrol, which was hit with a Federal Communications Commission order to get off more than 140 unauthorized radio frequencies.
The FCC had told the NHP and other state agencies to start using the new frequencies by last June. As a result of the federal order, the state has to scrap a costly radio system that's only a few years old.
The state could face big fines for not meeting the June deadline, but Attorney General Brian Sandoval, a Board of Examiners member, said he's confident that won't happen because of the progress made in shifting to the new system.
A lengthy investigation into the use of the unauthorized frequencies is nearly done. NHP Chief Dave Hosmer said the probe has cost tens of thousands of dollars and taken about 6,500 hours. Results will go to Sandoval, who will determine whether prosecution is warranted.
The Legislature's Interim Finance Committee, meeting here next week, will have final say on the spending, which was authorized by the 2003 Legislature.
The NHP had spent $14 million on a contract with Motorola to build a computer radio system to link troopers with each other, the dispatch center and other law enforcement agencies. It was activated in 2000. However, no one ever applied to the FCC for licenses for the frequencies.