POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1022864

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88 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2018 number of cellular sites required to cover that same footprint is huge. So you have infrastructure costs, land acquisition, site development, the utilities to run them, the people to maintain them," he says. "It's a huge difference." Concerns about the scale of a FirstNet deployment oen are weighed against the existing LMR expense, with few in police admin- istration eager to walk away from a longstanding investment. "LMR is typically purchased as a capital expense on a 12- to 25-year cycle, and they expect that system to deliver value for that lifetime of that cycle," Horden says. Some also wonder whether any LTE network could match the per- formance of LMR. "When you have a vast array of routers and switch- es, you can have quite a bit of latency between the time you push the button and the time the voice reaches the ear, even if it's someone just a couple of blocks away," Lenihan says. LTE developers are working to address such concerns, "but LMR has already honed that capability over many years." LOOKING AHEAD Given the wide-ranging concerns, both in terms of operation and in- frastructure, it's clear LMR is not going away any time soon. In fact, FirstNet officials recognize this as well. "Public safety entities will continue to rely on their LMR networks for mission critical voice features … that are needed in an emergency response setting. In the near term, public safety entities will need to maintain and/or upgrade their LMR networks, as appropriate," ac- Committed to bringing your department the highest quality Firearms, Ammunition and Supplies. FOR MORE INFORMATION, FIND US ONLINE: Facebook.com/AmcharWholesale YouTube.com/user/AmcharWholesale cording to FirstNet documents. FirstNet officials report mission-critical voice is in the works but say they can't predict when such functionality will arrive because stan- dards are still in development. Sgt. Matthews says his department likely won't shi away from LMR until those standards are in place and an operational-grade voice capability in LTE has been demonstrated. "We are looking for- ward to the coverage and the capacity that FirstNet will offer, but we are still watching to see how that network will be dealing with voice communications," he says. Until then, experts say police will need to make the case loud and oen for LMR's continued importance. Some see this as a critical mo- ment in police telecommunications, a time when funding priorities could easily be knocked off track by the promise of first responder LTE. "e people who make noise about LTE replacing LMR are not from public safety. ey are engineers and lab rats. ey have never used anything but a cell phone, so why wouldn't everyone just use a cell phone?" Seybold says. "at's a problem. ese LMR systems have to stay in operation. Police can't afford for the mayors and the governors to believe all the hype about LTE replacing everything. at's just dangerous." Annapolis-based writer Adam Stone covers emerging technology, IT management, and business topics, with particular emphasis on gov- ernment, public safety, and military technologies. The Future of Police Radio

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