Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS)


MARCS Mission

MARCS is dedicated to providing Ohio's first responders and public safety providers with state-of-the-art wireless digital communications, and to promote interoperability, in order to save lives and maximize effectiveness in both normal operations and emergency situations.


MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) is an 700/800 MHz radio and data network that utilizes state-of-the-art trunked technology to provide statewide interoperability in digital clarity to its subscribers throughout Ohio and a 10 mile radius outside of Ohio. The MARCS system provides statewide, secure, reliable public service wireless communication for public safety and first responders.

The MARCS development contract required 97.5% mobile voice and data in street coverage. 99.71% aggregate voice coverage was realized and 98.13% aggregate data coverage was achieved. This allows maximum statewide interoperability and enhanced safety and protection for public safety service providers through secure digital transmissions.

The MARCS network operates on three system components:

  • Mobile Voice – operating on the 700/800 MHZ digital trunked technology

  • Mobile Data – allowing data transmissions, LEADS inquiries, reformatting of data from Mobile Data Terminals (MDT)

  • Computer Aided Dispatch - providing GPS-based auto vehicle location, resource recommendation and GGM display

There are currently over 47,500 voice units and over 1,800 mobile data units on the MARCS system with over 1200 public safety/public service agencies statewide. This includes local, state and federal agencies.


To become a MARCS subscriber, a fully executed MARCS Service Subscription Agreement between the subscriber and MARCS must be on file. The MARCS staff will work with the subscriber to get their equipment programmed, activated and deployed in order to reach go-live.


MARCSIP Transition Update - Friday, April 04, 2014

As you may know, our current MARCS 800 MHz trunked, digital radio platform (which we refer to as MARCS 3.5) is migrating to the new, P-25 700/800 MHz Platform, MARCSIP.

MARCSIP Transition Update

April 30th, 2014 - MARCS Steering Committee Meeting - Friday, April 04, 2014

MARCS Steering Committee will meet Wednesday, April 30th at 9:00 A.M., Riffe Government Center, Columbus - 77 South High Street, 31st Floor North Conference Room



Please check back as we are in the process of updating all MARCS forms and will post upon completion.

Thank you.


MPP 15.0 Interoperability (.pdf) - The purpose of this policy is to provide the means for all public safety and first responders to communicate with each other throughout the state.


MPP 16.0 Voice Process (.pdf) - The purpose of this policy is to document the processes involved in becoming MARCS voice system customers. These processes will be adhered to by all new and existing MARCS customers. The policy defines customer responsibilities and responsibilities of the MARCS Program Office.


MPP 17.0 Co-Location (.doc)

Addendum Co-location form 20A (.doc) - The purpose of this policy is to formalize the technical requirements applying to agencies, both public and private, seeking use of the Multi-Agency Radio Communications System (MARCS) tower sites.

This document relates to frequencies, equipment, cables, antennas and/or any other such related items placed in the shelter, on the tower, and/or on grounds owned, leased or otherwise legally controlled by MARCS.

No public or private entity shall collocate any equipment on MARCS property without meeting all requirements of this policy and policy MPP-19.0, (.doc) and without the express written consent of MARCS.

This policy applies to all potential co-locates on all MARCS-controlled property.

MPP 22.0 Radio Talkgroup Patching Policy (.doc) The Radio Talkgroup Patching Policy establishes the terms and conditions for patching 2 way voice radio equipment into the Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) infrastructure.

Radio Patching is one of several terms used to define the connection of an Ohio MARCS radio to another radio or radios, resulting in the ability to establish Interoperable communications between radios and systems not compatible with each other directly. Some of the other terms used to define this process include “cross-connect”, “interconnect”, or “bridging”.

MPP 23.0 Data Customer Process (.pdf) - The purpose of this policy is to document the processes involved in becoming MARCS data system customers. These processes will be adhered to by all new and existing MARCS customers.


Our technical staff will work with you to develop a programming template for your radios and will supply you with two (2) agency specific talkgroups. In order for you to communicate with all other agencies on the MARCS system, you will also be given all the mutual aid/interoperability talkgroups (see MARCS Policy MPP15.0).

Mutual aid/interoperability talkgroups are inserted in all MARCS subscriber radios to ensure optimum statewide interoperability. The technical staff will also talk to you about other agency’s talkgroups you may want to have in your radios. This can be a local police department, fire department, hospital, health department, etc. There is no charge for the programming or consulting services of the technical staff. In addition, we will train your staff to use the equipment or supply you with training aids so you may incorporate your standard operating procedures so you can train your staff. There is no additional cost for training support either. We also have a helpdesk staff available 24/7/365. They can provide technical support to subscribers and also have a means of contacting any MARCS staff member any time of the day.

For more information contact Tom Bretthauer at


 Coming soon.

For more information contact Dick Miller at

Grant Resources for MARCS Subscribers

Before applying for federal grants, agencies need to make sure they have a DUNS (Data Universal Number System) and register with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR).

A DUNS number is a unique number that identifies an organization. It has been adopted by the Federal government to help track how Federal grant money is distributed. Agencies with a grant administrator or chief financial officer on staff, may already have your organization’s DUNS number. Agencies can call Dunn and Bradstreet at 1-866-705-5711 to receive one free of charge and the number will be assigned immediately.

CCR is the central government repository for organizations working with the Federal government. Agencies can see if they’re already registered at the CCR website ( If your organization is not already registered, identify the primary contact who should register your organization. When an agency registers with CCR, it will be required to designate an E-Business Point of Contact (E-Business POC). The designee authorizes individuals to submit grant applications on behalf of the organization and creates a special password called a Marketing Partner ID Number (M-PIN) to verify individuals authorized to submit grant applications for the organization.

Here are some resources other MARCS subscribers have found useful in the search for grant monies. The resources are practically endless, but this is a start.

This site is also known as “Just Grants!” This site has resources for nonprofit, government, and community-based organizations throughout Ohio. The benefit of is it links the user to several Federal departments and offers a number of tools for advanced and novice grant writers. allows the user to apply and register to submit grant applications online. Agencies can find grants faster and receive e-mail notifications of new grant opportunities, download grant application packages and view and complete them offline. also offers access tips, tools and a training demonstration

The homepage of FirstGov has three tabs across the top of the page. By selecting the “Government-to-Government” tab, you will be directed to a page with specific initiatives. Grants for state and local governments will have links on this page.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance gives access to all Federal programs available to State and local governments, private profit and nonprofit organizations, domestic public, quasi-public, specialized groups and individuals. Once you find the program you want, contact the office that administers the program and find out how to apply.

The home page for the US Department of Homeland Security has a link to “Homeland Security Grants”. There are also links on this home page that offer help in finding and applying for grants through FEMA, Transportation Security Administration Grant Program, etc.

This is a link to the US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs web page contains funding opportunities. Click on the “Funding Opportunities” tab and find a list of grant opportunities listed with their deadlines and additional links to their respective applications.

This link takes you directly to

This resource provides opportunities to support law enforcement activities in state and local jurisdictions, as well as other funding needs. Many of the program bureaus and offices award formula grants to state agencies, which, in turn, subgrant funds to units of state and local government. It is wise to monitor this site frequently as to not miss opportunities to obtain some of the funding obtained by state agencies (Department of Public Safety, Department of Health, etc.). We suggest watching to see if an Ohio government agency has applied for or has been granted monies from the US Department of Justice and then contacting the receiving agency to see if your agency is eligible for a portion of these funds.

The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (a division of Ohio Department of Public Safety) is a great resource for local monies. The “Funding” tab takes the user directly to grant resources. There is also a grants calendar, current solicitations, regional contact information, and grant reports.

Franklin County Ohio has a website link to various grant opportunities sponsored by Homeland Security and Justice Programs. There is a Grants Calendar that can be VERY useful in planning and meeting grant deadlines.

This site contains information on financial assistance available from the US Fire Administration and other Federal agencies for fire departments and other first responders.

This is the Responder Knowledge Base. This is not specifically used as a grant resource, but does have excellent tools for finding grant monies.

Most of the resources listed on this website are from corporate foundations.

This is a division of the US Department of Homeland Security that awards grants to fire departments to enhance their ability to protect the public and fire service personnel from fire and related hazards. There are three types of grants available: Assistance to Firefighters Grant, Fire Prevention and Safety, and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.

MARCS Contact Information

The MARCS Program operates 24/7/365. Although our regular business hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, the entire staff is on call. You can reach any staff member after hours by contacting the MARCS Network Operations Center at 1-866-OHMARCS (1-866-646-2727).
Darryl Anderson
Program Manager
Tom Bretthauer
Data Administration Manager
Dick Miller
Field Operations Manager
For billing questions, contact MARCS at:  
MARCS Helpdesk: 
MARCS Network Operations Center/HELPDESK at 1-866-OHMARCS (1-866-646-2727)
MARCS Mailing Address:  
4200 Surface Road
Columbus, OH 43228


MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) is an 700/800 MHz voice and data network that utilizes state-of-the-art trunked technology to provide statewide interoperability in digital clarity to its subscribers throughout Ohio and a 10 mile radius outside of Ohio.

The minimum requirement for coverage was set at 97.5% for mobile coverage. While there is no guarantee of portable coverage, it has been found that the level of portable coverage usually surpasses that experienced with conventional analog systems.

Franklin, Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Montgomery counties also have 97.5% portable in street coverage through enhancements built into those counties. MARCS personnel will work with any agency to assess coverage needs and achieve specific requirements.

The subscriber is responsible for their own radio equipment maintenance after purchase.

 MARCS Radio Use Agreement to the MARCS Program Office. Interested agencies may contact the MARCS Program Office to obtain details on specific steps the subscriber must take to become a MARCS customer.

Each MARCS customer must submit a

The MARCS Program office is responsible for oversight, maintenance and repair of the MARCS network. This work is funded through the subscription fees.

The MARCS system is the soundest investment for your agency’s radio communication needs.

Immediate Benefits:  One of the benefits current subscribers recognize immediately is the clarity in which transmissions are sent and received. In addition, the MARCS system’s 97.5% mobile voice coverage speaks for itself. This kind of coverage and clarity could not be realized with a conventional analog system.
The MARCS Program office is your full service two-way radio communication solution. The MARCS office has staff members who can assist you in:
  • Ordering the equipment to best suit your needs through discounted state term contract
  • Talkgroup template design and programming your radios
  • Training for your staff at no additional cost

You get all these benefits at no additional cost to you.

Cutting-Edge Technology:  The MARCS system is an 700/800 MHz digital, trunked system and has been recognized as one of the premier public safety two-way radio communication systems.
System Upgrades at No Cost to the End Use:  The MARCS program office and management is constantly working to keep up with technology and enhancements. The system was built APCO Project 25 capable so future enhancements could be made. The end user does not have to pay any additional funds for these upgrades. The subscription fees are used to upgrade the system.
Interoperability:  MARCS provides interoperability between local, county and state agencies. Currently, there are a number of federal agencies located in Ohio who have opted for the MARCS system for a means of filling their interoperability needs. This interoperability is achieved by simply changing talkgroups. The user friendly programming makes it easy for all users to be able to communicate with any other user in the state by simply pressing a button.
Outstanding Radio Coverage:  The MARCS system was designed to provide a minimum of 97.5% mobile radio coverage throughout the entire state of Ohio and a 10 mile radius. Although this level of portable coverage is not guaranteed through most of the state, enhancements in Franklin, Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Montgomery counties provide 97.5% portable in street coverage. Users have found portable radio coverage in the remaining counties usually exceeds that of systems they are accustomed to using.
24 x 7 x 365 System Support:  The MARCS system has a Network Operations Center (NOC) monitoring the system and dispatching service and support as needed. With MARCS having this system and this level of support in place, each user pays a minimum. This service is included in your normal subscription rates, saving your thousands of dollars in maintenance calls, parts, staffing, etc.
Lower Cost:  By becoming a MARCS subscriber you avoid the expense of construction of a stand- alone system.