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

Mission Critical Conversations

The latest tactical communications technology helps SWAT teams make sure they can communicate when and how they need to.

March 27, 2012  |  by Ronnie Garrett

Tucson's tactical team arrived at its current technology through trial and error. First they used earmuff-style communications. "We had issues with them," Acevedo says. "When you cued the mic, it would cut out your outside sound so that you only heard the radio talk and that was creating some problems. People were having a hard time hearing what was going on outside and hearing the radio at the same time."

The department then moved to custom-molded electronic earpieces, and Tucson's officers didn’t like them either. "You would put them in your ears and they'd click on to let you listen to the radio, but they also liked to magnify outside sounds," Acevedo says. "We had to turn the volume all the way up to hear what was being said. With our new headsets we can turn the radio down because the sound comes through so well."

Cutting the Cord

Bluetooth technology already has a strong foothold in the consumer industry. It is built into everything from phones to medical devices, letting people talk, send vital information, listen to music, and more without wires. And now the technology is entering the tactical space as well. "Bluetooth headsets, even those that will work with cell phones, are available to communicate with your two-way radio," Gordon says.

Many tactical officers prefer wireless headsets, he adds. "There's a lot of interest in Bluetooth technology, not as much on the security aspect but on the more covert side," he says. "Tactical officers hate to be wearing anything that a perpetrator can grab and use as a weapon. This technology cuts the cord so to speak."

And wireless systems have come a long way. Today they are lightweight, secure, and incorporate multiple ways to adjust volume. However, Gordon advises that they remain a solution teams will want to try before they buy. Bluetooth headsets can lose their connections from radio-frequency interference in the environment, and they need to be regularly recharged to make sure they are ready to go when the need for them arises.

"It is strictly the design of the maker, but some last for 12 hours, some for six," Gordon says. "Length of charge and time of use are important, especially in tactical situations where there could be a barricade and that officer is going to be on shift for 12-plus hours before being relieved. There is also the potential for interception and thus the officer’s personal security may be reduced."

Fortunately, wireless systems utilizing newer encryption capabilities have become more secure than their predecessors. "With advances in this technology, wireless voice communications are much more difficult to intercept," says Gnagey. "The system's digital signals when received by a standard radio scanner in someone’s home are indecipherable and sound like the noise made by a modem or a fax machine over a phone line."

Noise Suppression

Many of today's tactical headsets also offer decibel-limiting capabilities, which set decibel levels for received audio to 85 decibels or less unless officers override the setting manually.

As a rule of thumb in-ear headsets tend to provide better protection than traditional earmuffs and Bluetooth headsets offer a whole host of noise-limiting functions, Gordon says.

Tactical teams need to carefully consider the types of situations they may routinely find themselves in to gauge the level of protection they require. "The protection angle can be very simple, to what we call filtering air pieces. So you can still interact with your proximity sounds but you won't have distance sound or enhanced sound," Gordon says. "Or you can get into enhanced protection where you can understand what is going on around you but if a loud impulse noise, such as gunfire or an explosion takes off, that impulse noise is quieted to a safer limit."

Decibel-limiting headsets work well, particularly if tactical teams consider the sensitivity of the mic used with the headset system. "Teams need to consider the sensitivity of the mic and its ability to pick up whispered communications as well as being clearer when loud impact or impulse noises pick up," Gordon explains.

Tags: Communications, Tactical Communications, Tucson PD, EAR Inc., Two-Way Radios, Headsets, SureFire

Request more info about this product / service / company


Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

F.Arrowchis @ 4/16/2012 3:17 PM

Our SWAT Team got a rude awaking, while getting a warrant,the sujects heard about it over thier cell phones. SWAT thought their radios were secure. Anyone can get an app these days.

Join the Discussion





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