POLICE Magazine

JUL 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1001759

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Page 58 of 72

6 S P E C I A L R E P O R T • M I S S I O N C R I T I C A L C O M M U N I C AT I O N S number of factors help to explain it. Some have to do with the nature of police opera- tions, while others reflect realities around such issues as cost and infrastructure. Let's look at them in turns. OPERATIONAL ISSUES any who follow public safety tech- nology will argue that LMR is simply more naturally suited to the ways cops operate. "At a fundamental level, cellular tech- nologies are optimized for communi- cations between a single unit and the system. LMR on the other hand is funda- mentally much like broadcast. It is wide area to a group and between everybody on the channel," says Neil Horden, chief con- sultant with Federal Engineering, a public safety communications consultancy. at's a crucial distinction for first re- sponders. "Public safety operates in group mode. Fire officers responding to a single event want to work as a group. All the po- lice on a beat during normal operations want to talk to and hear each other, even when they are not involved in the call, because it provides them with situational awareness," Horden says. Police operations also require unin- terruptible comms, and while FirstNet is being touted as being a "mission criti- cal"-grade network, experts say that for voice, LMR will always be inherently more robust. LTE networks rely on cell towers, "and if a cell site is out of service, it is out of service, period," says consultant Andrew Seybold, who serves on the Internation- al Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) communications advisory committee. "If I can't reach the FirstNet network, my phone is a paperweight." LMR on the other hand "is designed with fallback modes," Seybold says. "If there is a failure in an LMR network there is a gradual degradation, multiple steps that allow continued communications all the way down to unit-to-unit level com- munication, which is always available." is has real-world consequences. "Last summer when we had two major hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, it knocked down a whole lot of [cellular] infrastruc- The Future of Police Radio M PHOTO: FR ANKLIN R AU

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