The Tennessee Highway Patrol is making an upgrade.

This afternoon, the agency announced a communications system to enhance efficiency, safety and service of troopers.

It will ultimately allow troopers across the state to clearly speak to each other with the push of a button.

It will also provide commonality with neighboring states as well as safety features like Emergency Man-Down notification and GPS capabilities, in addition to better coverage.

The radio system went live in Chattanooga March 27. Knoxville is scheduled to switch to the system May 29.

"This advanced statewide interoperable communication systemis a top priority in securing our state," Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. "Byenhancing communication among public safety agencies in Tennessee, and withagencies in surrounding states, we will better serve the public. This radiosystem is part of our customer-focused government plan."

Phase two, which will include Nashville, Jackson and Memphis, is expected to begin later this year.

The department secured $39.2 million dollars from theTennessee General Assembly for this first phase and $80 million for phase two.

Several new towers were built for the project. In total, 100 towers will be used state wide. 

The entire project is scheduled to be complete by 2015.