POLICE Magazine

JUL 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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In any public safety agency, communication equipment is arguably the most important gear needed in order to carry out officers' primary mission. And chief among this equipment is radios. Let's face it, radios are your lifeline and without them, it would be next to impossible for officers to protect the public they are sworn to serve. ere is nothing more frustrating than being under the duress of a stressful call and your department issued radio can neither transmit nor receive properly. It becomes impossible to provide situational awareness intel to responding or on scene backup units. Just like any other piece of equipment that we use, radios are frequently used beyond their service life; they break down, they get battered and banged around, drowned, technology outdates them, and they all must eventually be replaced. erein lies the dilemma, as most departments do not have financial resources available from within to tackle such a project. Depending upon the size of the agency the average radio replacement project can run from $300,000 to $3 million or more. As a result, agencies must frequently hope to locate and successfully apply for grant funding to finance these types of projects. Here's a look at how to accomplish this. STEP #1: ENLIST HELP Engage a third-party, true professional radio communications engineer to conduct an evaluation of your current radio system. ey, or you, should con- duct an inventory of your entire communications system so that you have doc- umentation of the age of the equipment being replaced, what is wrong with each piece, maintenance records and costs associated with those repairs, and firm numbers for needed replacements. is documentation should include the faults and failures of the existing system. ese faults and failures should be backed up by documented evidence from actual incidents where radio system failures led to unintended consequences, injuries, or fatalities or that placed lives in jeopardy as a result. e engineer should be able to recommend a solution that eliminates these problems. e selected engineer should provide a report detailing their findings and putting forth their recommendations. STEP #2: CREATE A BUDGET Once you have determined what must be replaced it's time to do deter- mine a preliminary budget for the project. I tell my clients to do a "best case scenario" of what equipment you would want to obtain if money were not an object. It is important to do this because before you can even go looking for a funding source you will need to know how much money you will need to ask for. Most grants have maximum dollar caps on them so it does you no good to look at a funding source for a grant when it will only fund half of what you need. Bear in mind here that when developing this budget you should be building in what we call "scale." In other words, be able to cut out items in certain ar- 14 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 Getting Grants for Communications Equipment YOU CAN USE GRANT FUNDING TO PURCHASE GEAR THAT WILL RESOLVE INTEROPERABLE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION ISSUES. Kurt T. Bradley

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