FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

DrugTest 5000 - Draeger Safety Diagnostics Inc
In the past, roadside drug screening has been difficult because it involved the...

Exclusive Webinar!

Originally aired: June 17, 2014  ‚óŹ 2PM EST

View Webinar Archive Here

Integrated Law Enforcement Complements and Completes Law Enforcement Capabilities

Discover how the combination of intelligence analysis, lead generation, agency collaboration, and communications integration can help you uncover issues faster and take action sooner. Learn how innovative IBM law enforcement solutions can extend the capabilities within your organization to deal with new and emerging threats, improve officer safety, reduce criminal activity, and protect the public. 

Join IBM industry expert Stephen Dalzell and members from the MDPD, IT and homeland security departments of the Miami Dade police department to hear more!

Click here to view archive

 

Features

Improving Communications After the Tucson Shootings

Pima County, Ariz., voters have approved $92 million to improve public safety radio interoperability to enable agencies to "talk with each other" on a single frequency band.

July 18, 2011  |  by Bryn Bailer


Photo: Zuma Press.

The Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson may have drawn interest toward law enforcement in Arizona's second-largest city, but another incident that highlighted the need to improve public safety communications for agencies across the entire nation occurred much earlier: on 9/11.

"Certainly the events of 9/11/2001 in New York and Washington showed all the necessity of interoperable communications," says Carl Drescher, an administrator of Information Technology for the City of Tucson, which is participating in the ambitious Pima County Wireless Integrated Network (PCWIN). The multi-agency program—for which voters authorized $92 million in a special bond election in 2004—is tasked with, among other goals, improving public safety radio interoperability to enable agencies to "talk with each other" on a single frequency band.

Contiguous jurisdiction incidents and multijurisdictional pursuits—not uncommon events in cities of all sizes these days—are classic cases that beg for interoperability between agencies, says project administrator Capt. Paul Wilson of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

"You have multiple agencies chasing the bad guy and not being able to communicate directly with one another while they're doing that," he says. "[An additional problem is] not having your medical responders knowing what's going on during all of that, so that they can pre-stage where they need to be, so they can provide the most efficient, effective, and quick service."

The City of Tucson alone operates on a hodgepodge of venues: VHF and UHF analog systems, and 800 MHz digital frequencies. Motorola police two-way radios mostly use VHF (150 MHz). Fire and emergency medical services use UHF (450 MHz). Mobile data accessed in police vehicles and fire apparatus operate jointly on the 800 MHz radio system. And other city public works departments crowd into all three bands for voice communications.

"The radio system in its current configuration has been in operation since 1982," Drescher notes. "However, some of the original core system has been in operation since the early 1970s."

The linchpin of PCWIN's mission is to provide digital radio service to more than 30 police and fire agencies in Pima County, which covers an area of almost 9,200 square miles. Several additional 800 MHz frequencies have been licensed for public safety use in the new radio system, including some set aside as multi-agency "group talk" channels. The project will adapt and construct multiple radio towers to allow interconnectivity, and purchase compatible radio equipment (handheld and fixed mount) for which each agency will pay a monthly user fee per radio.

The final element is construction of a centralized, regional communications center for the sheriff's department and other agencies, as well as technological upgrades to existing facilities for Tucson police, fire, and city communications so that each site serves as a "live" backup to the other, in case operations are suddenly compromised or shut down. The entire project is expected to become operational in 2014.

Tags: Pima County (Ariz.) Sheriff, Interoperability, Communications, First Responders, 9/11


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Stories

Cyber Terrorism: Preventing Online Assault
Hackers constantly target law enforcement. Whatever the intent, with our dependence on...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine