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Old 03-07-2013, 12:19 PM
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Default Mahwah, NJ: Mahwah school radio mixup focus of funding flap

Typical Bergen County screwup:
Mahwah school radio mixup focus of funding flap - NorthJersey.com
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:44 PM
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Exclamation Mahwah Schools

Just added them to the data base. Could their incompatibility with the rest of the towns Public Safety communications systems be due to the fact the BOE is using NXDN? Duh, Smart move. Must have been a good radio sales pitch to the BOE???

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Old 03-08-2013, 9:08 AM
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Uhhh....
I've never heard of making schools interoperable with first responders before.
If schools have a resource officer, they usually get a school radio. Where I live, the schools seem to buy new radio systems each school year and despite that, the schools are not even interoperable nor are the schools and school buses. Well, they could be, but they aren't. No need apparently.

I guess the salesmen ran out of public safety agencies so they turned to the schools. School boards spend money like it grows on trees so it was a good move on their part. Kudos to the 4 board members who weren't bought. If the cops really want someone transmitting on their radios in an emergency, they should give the main office one of their radios. End of story.
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Old 03-08-2013, 9:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rapidcharger View Post
Uhhh....
I've never heard of making schools interoperable with first responders before.
If schools have a resource officer, they usually get a school radio. Where I live, the schools seem to buy new radio systems each school year and despite that, the schools are not even interoperable nor are the schools and school buses. Well, they could be, but they aren't. No need apparently.

I guess the salesmen ran out of public safety agencies so they turned to the schools. School boards spend money like it grows on trees so it was a good move on their part. Kudos to the 4 board members who weren't bought. If the cops really want someone transmitting on their radios in an emergency, they should give the main office one of their radios. End of story.
Right, wrong, or indifferent, these days schools are top of the list. While they do need communication and have traditionally been the least-equipped, a lot of what they are doing is probably (and very hopefully)prepping for an event which will never come.

As for interoperability with non-responders, when I converted my hometown from VHF to UHF, it opened the door to direct communication with high rise maintenance, building security, and a number of other local things that used to be "we'll know what's going on when we get there." That was a major enhancement in situational awareness. But now, the future of the UHF system is uncertain because it's on T-Band. It's too far out to predict, but as of right now, it's in dubious straits.

I bet these guys don't know that NXDN radios can operate in 11K2F3E analog FM, too, and can come up on the UHF interoperability channels or on some mutually-determined frequency. There isn't any need (in my view, anyway) to keep tabs on any activity that doesn't require direct responder engagement.
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rapidcharger View Post
Uhhh....
I've never heard of making schools interoperable with first responders before.
If schools have a resource officer, they usually get a school radio. Where I live, the schools seem to buy new radio systems each school year and despite that, the schools are not even interoperable nor are the schools and school buses. Well, they could be, but they aren't. No need apparently.

I guess the salesmen ran out of public safety agencies so they turned to the schools. School boards spend money like it grows on trees so it was a good move on their part. Kudos to the 4 board members who weren't bought. If the cops really want someone transmitting on their radios in an emergency, they should give the main office one of their radios. End of story.
There are plenty of times when schools need to be interoperable with public safety.

Schools are used for shelters in response to catastrophic weather. School transportation systems are often used to transport mass numbers of displaced in response to such events.

School safety is top of the list, thanks to the recent onslaught of violence. There is no arguing that public school officers and staff should have direct access to law enforcement in response to active shooter scenarios.

While it's unlikely that a bus driver needs to be talking to a PD dispatcher daily, there are times (such as those above) when it may be a reality.

School public safety officers should have a radio on the local jurisdictions' system, though carrying two radios may be a thing of the past with multi-network radios like the Motorola APX series.
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:21 AM
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Both Allendale and neighboring Ramsey have the Board of Ed frequency in their radios and there's a push to do the same in Woodcliff Lake.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:04 AM
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B.S. lots of B.S.

Schools do NOT need to be directly interoperable with public safety, period. Having a panicked office worker or teacher come up on a main PD channel isn't necessary for this to work. Schools don't need to be equipped with APX radios, either, that is just a waste of money, money that schools and taxpayers don't have.
Yes, the recent violence in schools is a huge issue, but every time something like this happens, the answer is always "lets throw more money at the problem and that'll fix it". That does not work.

What the school needs sounds like exactly what they have, a radio system that meets their needs yet doesn't break the bank.

What Police, Fire and EMS needs is timely info on a situation, not having untrained people being able to come up on PD, Fire or EMS frequencies. Yes, it would be useful to have -some- interoperability, but that can be solved by having a radio in dispatch that can monitor the school system, or a few key people having access to radios that will operate with the school system.

This attitude that throwing $5000+ radios at every little issue is absolutely insane, all it serves is to line the pockets of salesmen with taxpayer dollars, OUR taxpayer dollars. A good salesman can walk in and incite enough panic in the uneducated masses to get whatever they want for just about whatever price they want. Smarter people need to be involved in the decision making. I'm not talking about PhD's, but people that understand communications yet are not profiting off the sales of equipment. Too many of these public agencies don't seek outside council on purchases like this, they either hire consultants that in bed with specific vendors, or use the vendor provided "consultants". I've seen sales people that have the words "sales" and "consultant" on the same business card, and that is contradictory.

Without having all the information on what the $9000 is for, what they need is a -few- interoperable radios. That can be handled by patching, supervisors having radios that interoperate, or simply sharing radios.
I work for a University, and starting back with the Virginia Tech tragedy, the whole system kicked into a froth about "safety". The solutions offered spanned from the logical to the absolutely insane. We were pretty much given carte blanch to do whatever we needed to give the sensation of safety. We did a lot of work and a lot of research, and after all that, our PD and Fire (we have our own departments) are still on VHF and our "craft/public works" system is still on 800MHz. Key fire and PD people have 800MHz radios. No craft/public works/support people are carrying VHF radios. If PD or Fire needs to directly talk with someone on the 800 system, and it does happen, the PD uses their 800Mhz radios to contact them on a designated channel. Fire uses dispatch to relay information. Patching is an option, but a properly designed solution doesn't necessarily need it.

This is one of the gripes I have about these huge radio systems that are being installed in some urban areas, the logic/drive behind it seems to be centered around the idea that the guy picking up the garbage needs to be able to instantly communicate with the upper ranks of PD and Fire at any time and from any location. This is absurd thinking that is driven by sales people and consultants that live in the pockets of the manufacturers. It's also driven by the public hysteria that results in taxpayers emptying their pockets thinking it will guarantee safety. To complicate the issue, elected officials will jump for any salesman that is able to link their re-election to office to purchase orders.

B.S flag has been raised and is flying high.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:36 AM
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B.S flag has been raised and is flying high.
I just so happen to have an emoticon for that.
Couldn't resist.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:56 AM
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Thanks, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.
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Old 03-08-2013, 3:19 PM
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I agree that a school doesn't need APX radios. Ever. (How did we jump to that?) But why would "the powers that be" need to be right on the BOE channel (it's a limitation 44 frequency, so it requires an occupied bandwidth of less than what everyone was supposed to go to through narrowbanding). Even the venerable Mozzarella does not have a compatible product, even if they wanted.

And, the radios in the BOE can switch to analog FM. Makes more sense for them to be able to jump to PD's (still analog, to my knowledge) frequency to call for help than the other way around. But what do I know? I don't think this is the big deal the Patch story is making it out to be... except that probably the salesman is trying to make it one.
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Old 03-08-2013, 4:03 PM
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There inlies the debate. The BOE in Mahwah already HAD a UHF frequency whether they used it I don't know, but I would HOPE it was in the PD and FD's radio plan. I would also have it monitored by the police desk in case anything happened to the phones it woould be a last resort. I AM NOT advocating giving the school to jump to the police channel, that spells trouble.
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Old 03-09-2013, 5:20 AM
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I our area of NY schools still live on VHF High band.....poke there channel in police fire and ems....problem solved. Channel needed channel is there..... nothing special no bells,mdc noises, computers to fail etc....
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Old 03-09-2013, 7:44 AM
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what? the PD ? OEM wanted to have the Schoold channel NOT the school having PD channels - since the school listen to the salesman about meeting the latest FCC mandate that they must go digital - that was the sales inferred pitch - by the time the PD radio guy found out it was too late - he explained what the PD/OEM needed a same mode (FM and future the same digital format) the schools really did not understand at first - now they do
The trend - if possible is for PD to add schools channels - that school channels be in the same mode and band as emergency services -
and the schools just need a black box (cheap) radio - even FRS covers most campus's
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:08 AM
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One point that these discussions always miss is that every digital radio out there, doesn't matter if its P25, DMR, MotoTrbo, NexEdge, IDAS, etc, they ALL will do analog FM mode.

Yes, that makes more sense, the PD having school frequency in their radios, not the other way around. Much better solution. What I don't understand is the system that's going in out here, next county over, that has the park maintenance guys carrying APX radios, same as the police and fire. A kid running weed whacker doesn't need a $5000 radio.

Another item that gets overlooked by schools is that they often carry information over the radio that shouldn't be out there for the public to hear, children's names, health issues, etc. That sort of stuff either needs to stay off the radio, or needs to be protected from the casual listener. FRS won't do that. My sons personal info, health issues, etc doesn't need to be broadcast out to the whole town.
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Old 03-09-2013, 7:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaymatt1978 View Post
There inlies the debate. The BOE in Mahwah already HAD a UHF frequency whether they used it I don't know, but I would HOPE it was in the PD and FD's radio plan. I would also have it monitored by the police desk in case anything happened to the phones it woould be a last resort. I AM NOT advocating giving the school to jump to the police channel, that spells trouble.
It is in the FD plan, remember you saw it?
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Old 03-09-2013, 8:21 PM
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Except in limited cases, "educational institutions" are not eligible to be licensed on public safety frequencies. Most schools, therefore, are licensed on Industrial/Business frequencies.

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Old 03-09-2013, 10:35 PM
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A couple of points - the only product I know of at the moment that will not support analog FM is PowerTrunk's TETRA radios. Because of the circumstances imposed by the FCC (FB8 exclusivity), that would be impossible for them.

Eligibility was expanded in the 90s to include schools on public safety pool frequencies. They used to have to have either IB or PS frequencies.

If we were to require dispatch to monitor the BOE NXDN system (which I fundamentally disagree with, but supposing), the problem is easily solved. Put an NXDN radio in dispatch. Hook it up to the logging recorder, too (why not?).

This is what happens when things are not planned-for.
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Old 03-09-2013, 11:11 PM
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Except in limited cases, "educational institutions" are not eligible to be licensed on public safety frequencies. Most schools, therefore, are licensed on Industrial/Business frequencies.

John Rayfield, Jr. CETma
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From FCC part 90:
(Public Safety pool) 90.20(a) "Eligibility" (2)(viii) "Persons or organizations operating school buses on a regular basis over regular routes for the transmission of messages pertaining either to the efficient operation of the school bus service or the general welfare of the students they are engaged in transporting."
(Industrial/Business pool) 90.35(a) "Eligibility" (2) "The operation of educational, philathropic, or ecclesiastical institutions."

So, from a strict reading of Part 90 school buses can be licensed for Public Safety, but schools cannot.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:31 AM
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Giving PD/FD radios to the schools is ABSOULUTELY NOT a good idea, unless it is a limited few and they are properly trained.

Otherwise that town is going to get an auxiliary police department without wanting one:

"Uhhh....school 1 to uhhh...police dispatch...uhh on Main Street and uhh..where am I....1st street, Main and 1st, theres a car with its hood up and hazard lights on....it looks like he can use some help....uhhh send someone out here"
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Old 03-10-2013, 9:59 PM
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From FCC part 90:
(Public Safety pool) 90.20(a) "Eligibility" (2)(viii) "Persons or organizations operating school buses on a regular basis over regular routes for the transmission of messages pertaining either to the efficient operation of the school bus service or the general welfare of the students they are engaged in transporting."
(Industrial/Business pool) 90.35(a) "Eligibility" (2) "The operation of educational, philathropic, or ecclesiastical institutions."

So, from a strict reading of Part 90 school buses can be licensed for Public Safety, but schools cannot.
You won't get the whole picture of the FCC's regulatory environment just by looking at Part 90. You HAVE TO include volumes of "Reports and Orders" that make interpretations to and modify the rules, WITHOUT always changing the material rule itself. Eventually (glacially), the Rules do change, but there are many, many, many things that are in these proceedings that are not otherwise specified. This is why there are lawyers that specialize in FCC matters, and why there is an FCC Bar association. Dealing with the FCC is the ultimate game of trivial pursuit, and how people carve niche markets for themselves by learning (and usually hoarding) specific information and using it to exploit and usually one-up someone else for the benefit of their paying clients. Schools are absolutely eligible. I should have a DA number for the group tomorrow to cite my assertion.

It shouldn't be that confusing, but it is.
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