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Meaning of "TAC" channel

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RRR

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I often see "Tactical" in the Database. Have these been confirmed? In the two way and L.E., Fire and EMS world, a "TAC" channel is a "Talk Around Channel" A "Tactical" channel would be used for "special ops" or similar.

Just has me wondering sometimes, as several agencies I know don't have any kind of "Tactical" operations, but do have "TalkAround Channels" ("TAC") but have them listed in the DB here as "Tactical".
 

Jay911

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That acronym is far from universal.

In my region, tactical simply means fireground (or emergency scene) operations. You talk to dispatch on the dispatch channel and you talk to the other crews working at the scene on the tactical channel.

The term "talk around" is a holdover from the single-frequency repeater days when you would set your transmit freq to be the same as your repeater output freq. People monitoring the repeater could hear you but it wasn't going through the repeater, so you were "talking around the repeater".

RR in its official documentation seems to treat "tactical" to mean some kind of covert special ops stuff as you hint at, but for a lot of us, tactical just means scene operations.
 

KK4JUG

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I don't think there's any standardization for the title. It's used for special details, talk around and maybe even a channel to free up the dispatch channel for extended conversations. Locally, the police have tactical, Specials 1 thru 6, admin, command, DMV, detectives, dispatch, and a public safety channel available to all public safety units (police, fire, ems, marshal, sheriff, corrections) in the county.

The tactical channels (3 of them) are generally used for active operations that will consume too much dispatch channel (foot chases, etc.) Special channels are used for everything (large funeral details, high school football security, talk around, etc.).
 

RRR

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"TAC" is not the same as "Tactical" though.

"TAC" is pretty universally understood (by those of us in the business) to mean "TalkAround Channel", weather it be simplex, or talkgroup(s).. Almost everyone has a "Talkaround" (TAC) channel or 3, be it talkgroups on Mototrbo, NXDN, P25 or even state band analog.

Fireground channels could very well be "Tactical" in the sense that they are engaging in fighting a fire.

"Tactical" (fact, not a hint) means "Special operations" or "on scene activity" and such. "Talkaround" (TAC) is for getting off the main channel to have a conversation. The fact others have mis-applied this terminology doesn't make it up for grabs. I guess it's what whoever inputs stuff into the DB, labels it what they want to.
 

phask

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TAC" is not the same as "Tactical" though. Yes and no :)

TAC could be talkaround but TAC does not indicate it is talkaround.
RR has specific rules for all data.


Per the RR Admin Handbook

TAC = Tactical


Law Dispatch –Law enforcement dispatch.


Law Tac–Law enforcement tactical, SWAT, on--‐scene, surveillance and specific sub--‐agency communications.


Law Talk – Law enforcement talk--‐around,car--‐to--‐car and supervisor operations

Similar in all other categories - Fire-Tac etc.
 

trentbob

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Same here in my part of the country, Tac is short for Tactical in police operations, it can be car to car, used for dispatch when the air is cleared on a dispatch channel, special details like stakeouts or even parades or events. It is also used for communication between police, fire and medical. Talk around frequencies are called simplex and encrypted tactical channels in my area are called Ops channels. Tactical channels in the fire department are called fireground channels. Tactical channels are often County Wide and can be inter Ops between other counties.
 

mmckenna

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"TAC" is pretty universally understood (by those of us in the business) to mean "TalkAround Channel", weather it be simplex, or talkgroup(s).. Almost everyone has a "Talkaround" (TAC) channel or 3, be it talkgroups on Mototrbo, NXDN, P25 or even state band analog.
If you look at the DHS NIFOG manual, you will see many channels named VTAC##, UTAC##, 7TAC## and 8TAC##. They show all these, under the "Description" column, as Tactical. Some are simplex, some are repeated, all use the TAC designator to indicate Tactical channel.

So, while you may use that TAC term to mean Talk Around Channel locally, the Feds would disagree, as would all the agencies around my area.



"Tactical" (fact, not a hint) means "Special operations" or "on scene activity" and such. "Talkaround" (TAC) is for getting off the main channel to have a conversation. The fact others have mis-applied this terminology doesn't make it up for grabs. I guess it's what whoever inputs stuff into the DB, labels it what they want to.
Agencies around here use use the term "Car to Car" or "Direct" for those sorts of channels. Talk Around, is never abbreviated as TAC. DHS has become very adamant about not using acronyms that can be misunderstood, as it leads to lots of issues. Standardized terminology and language has become the recommended way of communicating. They don't even like people using 10 codes….
 

AI7PM

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Add, MAC (Mutual Aid Chan), MAT (Mutual Aid Talkgroup) and many others you will come across in time. Lots of local and regional jargon is out there.
 

wtp

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i have not heard "talk around" in decades.
it meant to talk around the repeater on the repeater output.
it was meant to be kept very local, like handheld radios.
 

mciupa

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I often see "Tactical" in the Database. Have these been confirmed? In the two way and L.E., Fire and EMS world, a "TAC" channel is a "Talk Around Channel" A "Tactical" channel would be used for "special ops" or similar.

Just has me wondering sometimes, as several agencies I know don't have any kind of "Tactical" operations, but do have "TalkAround Channels" ("TAC") but have them listed in the DB here as "Tactical".
Please consider making the corrections known via submission(s) to your local database administrator for accuracy sake.
 

krokus

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"TAC" is not the same as "Tactical" though.

"TAC" is pretty universally understood (by those of us in the business) to mean "TalkAround Channel", weather it be simplex, or talkgroup(s).. Almost everyone has a "Talkaround" (TAC) channel or 3, be it talkgroups on Mototrbo, NXDN, P25 or even state band analog.
I'm not sure which business you are referring to, but it very much does mean tactical, in anything Public Safety or military.

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mmckenna

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The channel naming standard used in NIFOG came from the NPSTC Common Channel Naming Working Group.
Yep, APCO/NPSTC document covers this as well as the DHS NIFOG:
APCO / NPSTC 1.104.2-2017 Standard Channel Nomenclature for the Public Safety Interoperability Channels

TAC = Channel is primarily used for interagency communications by any Public Safety eligible. **


While TAC might mean something different locally, FCC, APCO, DHS and NPSTC are the keepers of standards. A lot of work was put into the Standard Channel Nomenclature document to resolve these sorts of issues and get everyone on the same page.

Sounds more like someone assumed that TAC was an acronym and tried to assign something that would fit.
 

wa8pyr

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If you look at the DHS NIFOG manual, you will see many channels named VTAC##, UTAC##, 7TAC## and 8TAC##. They show all these, under the "Description" column, as Tactical. Some are simplex, some are repeated, all use the TAC designator to indicate Tactical channel.

So, while you may use that TAC term to mean Talk Around Channel locally, the Feds would disagree, as would all the agencies around my area.

Agencies around here use use the term "Car to Car" or "Direct" for those sorts of channels. Talk Around, is never abbreviated as TAC. DHS has become very adamant about not using acronyms that can be misunderstood, as it leads to lots of issues. Standardized terminology and language has become the recommended way of communicating. They don't even like people using 10 codes….
Ditto for both in my area as well. TAC around here (Ohio and surrounding states, as well as many other areas I'm familiar with and/or travel to) is an abbreviation for Tactical, a channel specifically assigned as a non-dispatch operations channel. 35 years in public safety communications, I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to a talkaround channel as TAC unless a repeater talkaround channel was specifically assigned as a tactical channel (which is very rare).

RR in its official documentation seems to treat "tactical" to mean some kind of covert special ops stuff as you hint at, but for a lot of us, tactical just means scene operations.
For many years, "tactical" in many areas was often understood to be a channel intended for secret-squirrel type stuff, while "car to car" was typically for police chit-chat and "fireground" was for fire scene operations. I think that's where what you describe came from.

These days, with the proliferation of trunked systems and their thousands of talkgroups, it seems that "tactical" has become a catch-all description for non-dispatch operations. I'll give some thought to updating the admin handbook to make "tactical" more reflective of common usage.
 
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RRR

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So, when there is absolutely no "Tactical" operations at all with the agency, how does a "TAC" channel become "Tactical"?

There are many agencies all over the place that does not do any "Tactical" type of activities, especially small depts. They say "Go to TAC" and start chewing the fat, or talking amongst themselves so the dispatcher can't hear them.

Nothing tactical about that.
 

DJ11DLN

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Ditto for both in my area as well. TAC around here (Ohio and surrounding states, as well as many other areas I'm familiar with) is an abbreviation for Tactical, a channel specifically assigned as a non-dispatch operations channel. 35 years in public safety communications, I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to a talkaround channel as TAC unless a repeater talkaround channel was specifically assigned as a tactical channel (which is very rare).
Same here, TAC (here at least) has always meant a scene operations channel, whether referring to LE, Fire, or EMS. The primary purpose was and is to move operations off of Dispatch so as not to interfere with other scenes and ops. Talk-around, or direct, was called (big surprise here) talk-around or direct, and on very rare occasions car-to-car, back when it was still used. It's almost never used here these days.

Some agencies here call it TAC, some call it OPS...means the same thing in my neck of the woods.
 

wa8pyr

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"Tactical" (fact, not a hint) means "Special operations" or "on scene activity" and such. "Talkaround" (TAC) is for getting off the main channel to have a conversation. The fact others have mis-applied this terminology doesn't make it up for grabs. I guess it's what whoever inputs stuff into the DB, labels it what they want to.
As others have noted, that may be the case where you are, but it certainly isn't the case where I am, or where many other people are. It's a matter of local semantics.

So, when there is absolutely no "Tactical" operations at all with the agency, how does a "TAC" channel become "Tactical"?

There are many agencies all over the place that does not do any "Tactical" type of activities, especially small depts. They say "Go to TAC" and start chewing the fat, or talking amongst themselves so the dispatcher can't hear them.

Nothing tactical about that.
"Tactical" these days is a catch-all description for all sorts of non-dispatch things ("TAC" being an abbreviation for "Tactical" typically because radio displays could only handle so many characters). The local big-city constabulary near me have used their tactical channels for car-to-car chit-chat for at least 20 years, in addition to their intended use for actual tactical operations.

And when it comes to agencies not doing any "tactical type of activities," just because it's a small agency doesn't mean they couldn't have a tactical situation. The small police department I once worked for (11 or 12 full-time officers) had actual tactical situations happen, and all of a sudden the tac channel which was usually used for car-to-car stuff was being used for an actual tactical situation.

One could even argue that car-to-car chatting about where to go for donuts and coffee is a tactical discussion; after all, they are discussing the tactics of donut and coffee acquisition. :D

So, never say never.
 
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krokus

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So, when there is absolutely no "Tactical" operations at all with the agency, how does a "TAC" channel become "Tactical"?

There are many agencies all over the place that does not do any "Tactical" type of activities, especially small depts. They say "Go to TAC" and start chewing the fat, or talking amongst themselves so the dispatcher can't hear them.

Nothing tactical about that.
Using a tactical asset for a non-tactical reason, does not mean that asset is not a tactical one. In fact, the use of that radio asset is good practice, keeping it in forethought if/when a tactical need arises.

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KK4JUG

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The local system has a plethora of non-dispatch channels that are used to keep the dispatch channels free. In addition, the system has a "talk around" channel and it's labelled (Are you ready for this?) "Talk Around." It's a simplex channel. It's used on those occasions when two or more cars leave the area, i.e, the range of the broadcast system. An example would be when a couple of sheriff's vehicles leave the area to pick up or deliver prisoners. It's good for maybe a third of a mile on a good day.
The rank & files officers have portables assigned to them. There are no mobiles. Those are reserved for the command staff.
 
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