Assembly plant shooting proves turning point for regional interoperability

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Thunderbolt

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PONTIAC, Mich. — A tragic 1996 shooting at Ford Motor Company’s Wixom Vehicle Assembly Plant proved to be a major turning point for local public safety officials in Oakland County, Michigan. The gunman — who had dated a plant employee — entered the facility and opened fire, killing a manager and wounding several others, including two sheriff’s deputies.

Assembly plant shooting proves turning point for regional interoperability
 

LowBat

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There are other threads that discuss interoperability and what benefit if any do cops and firemen really have when it comes to talking with each other on the radio. Depending on protocol and brevity codes some cops may benefit by talking to cops from other departments and bypassing their dispatchers in the process. This opens up new problems if you ask me. The one plus I see in this article is that at least the digital system isn't proprietary as we've seen in other supposedly interoperability packages.
 

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The one plus I see in this article is that at least the digital system isn't proprietary as we've seen in other supposedly interoperability packages.
Actually, OpenSky is totally proprietary and completely un-interoperable to anything but other OpenSky radios. When they speak of interoperability, they're only talking about interoperability between Oakland County agencies which use the system.

Any interoperability with radios of other manufacturers and systems like P25 is either done on conventional channels, requires control stations hard-wired to the OpenSky system, or is dependent upon network connections via microwave, fiber optic or T1 data lines. If those go down, no cross-system interoperability. This includes any interoperability with the MPSCS, which surrounds Oakland County.

P25 systems may have a few weak points, but at least radios from multiple manufacturers will work across systems.
 
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LowBat

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I read Harris and got my wires crossed with another system. Thanks for catching my error.
 

texasemt13

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Actually, OpenSky is totally proprietary and completely un-interoperable to anything but other OpenSky radios.
According to this document from Harris, their VIDA switch can handle OpenSky-P25 (and much more). This page has a video talking about the LCRA switch to P25 and Opensky (from EDACS) here in Central Texas. That video includes the graphic seen below:
 

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ff-medic

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First of all, I guess 9/11, and the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings did not teach some people anything.

Florida done it right, as I understand. That state passed a law allowing those with concealed weapons permits to keep firearms locked in their vehicles on employers property. Some establishments and businesses strictly forbid, and some people have fired as I have previously read, keeping firearms in vehicles on private property. Florida stepped over this nonsense, passing a law that no employee may be fired for keeping a firearm in their vehicle, IF they have a concealed weapons permit.

You would think that large manufacturers ( people with aproxmately 250 employees, property with 5 or more acres ) would retain armed security on the premises. Especially if the manufacturing plant made sensitive items, electronics , specialty products, irreplaceable materials.

Cancelled Insurance, lost savings, relationship problems, terminated employment ; are just a few reasons for someone to get shot. How much time could someone need to walk onto the site of an assembly plant, shoot an assault rifle and reload five or six times with 30 round magazines ,with no internal armed security present? H/R ( Human Resources ) and site owners deter large, improved, increased security to cut costs and save money.

Interoperability. Some agencys are on UHF, Some are on VHF- High and Some are on VHF- low. My opinion, as I have said before here on Radio Reference.com; is all all agencys in mountainous and hilly locales should go to UHF. VHF for open areas like Vegas, flat locales in Florida, along with the 700-800-900 MHZ. Radio propagation varries betweeon the differnt bands ( UHF & VHF ), and is based largely on terrain for us folks in Public Safety. I see no reason for flat, and open areas to have UHF, while mountainous, and hilly regions have 800 & 900 MHZ. UHF penetrates barriers and hillside better than 700-800-900 MHZ, and frequencys in that range; bounce off of glass, tree leaves, concrete and alot of other barriers ; it just does not penetrate. One would think that when the FCC stated handing out radio licenses, they would have picked up on this. Tax rich , flat land citys have the tax income to support a great number of repeaters like 800 MHZ. Us poor agencys in the hills, do not have the financial support for all the repeaters and 800 MHZ technology ; Like we need...OR WANT 800 MHZ anyway.

Harris Communications, as I understand is great. Great and durable products. I wish my location had Harris do our comms.


FF - Medic !!!
 

ff-medic

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There are other threads that discuss interoperability and what benefit if any do cops and firemen really have when it comes to talking with each other on the radio. Depending on protocol and brevity codes some cops may benefit by talking to cops from other departments and bypassing their dispatchers in the process. This opens up new problems if you ask me. The one plus I see in this article is that at least the digital system isn't proprietary as we've seen in other supposedly interoperability packages.

Protocol and brevity codes have nothing to do with it. Simple, If you don't understad...ASK in plain english on the radio. I have been in Public Safety for about 19 years, and have never had a trouble with interoperability, talking to L/E, or other Fire and EMS agencys.

Its simple. Public Safety agencys being able to communicate is far better than not being able to communicate. Lives depend on this. Sometimes... time is of the essence, and simplicty is far better than complication. This is not the days of scribes and scene runners passing messages by hand. Radio communciations for Public Safety has to work, it has to be effecient. Mutual Aid is important in pooling resources for a bad situation, or mass casuality incident. I do not belive that this opens up problems by any means.

Cops and Firemen talking on a radio together is a great benefit, prevents form taxing the dispatchers with continously passing info between two Fire and L/E agencys, completes tasks quicker, and retrieves accuate and up to date information...that may be misconstrued by going through a dispatch. Where I work, we spent alot of money, so agencys can talk to each other....everyone wanted the new 128 channel handheld radio portable.....AND THEY still ask dispatch to pass this info, relay this and relay that ; taxing the dispatch center. Simple solution, you want a message passed along, Fire Dept wants to give updated patient vital signs to the responding EMS unit....CHANGE channels instead of giving the Dispatcher the info and having them do it. Like I said, everyone wanted the new 128 channel handheld, and they still ask the dispatch center to do their job for them. Wonders never cease to amaze me.

And in my opinion , EVERY Public Safety Agency ( Fire / EMS / Law Enforcement ) should have at least one encrypted radio frequency anyway. Disasters, mass casuality incidents, to talk to the hospital or medical control, Haz-mat incident, discuss matters of a private nature ( license plate info from the 9-1-1 center... about a vehicle crash involving a fatality ) and a host of other reasons, is why Public Safety needs encryption "Capabilitys". I am a scanner fan myself, and in Fire/EMS.... but encryption does have its place in Public Safety.

FF - Medic !!!
 

ff-medic

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Actually, OpenSky is totally proprietary and completely un-interoperable to anything but other OpenSky radios..
Yes, but don't some of Harris Communciations radios have the ability to communicate with other agencys on the same band, and sometimes multi-band, as their radios can communciate both in analog mode, as well as OpenSky, UHF as well as VHF. I belive so, I was just on their site a few weeks ago, and see radios advertised for OpenSky, P25, combination VHF and UHF models, whcih can still communicate analog. Like I said in another post, Wish my workplace andounty went to Harris.


Harris PSPC | Terminal Products




When they speak of interoperability, they're only talking about interoperability between Oakland County agencies which use the system. .
Yes, But I belive this does not limit them to Oakland County only, If I am correct they can still talk analog to other agencys.


FF - Medic !!!
 
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AZScanner

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Oh goodie, another excuse to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on pie-in-the-sky radio systems that don't deliver on their promises of unicorns and rainbows for all.

If 9-11 taught us anything it's that throwing billions upon billions of dollars into a giant furnace of goverment spending hasn't made the boogeyman go away. There are nationwide interoperability channels on every band ALREADY that work just fine, spendhappy government. Use them and stop wasting our tax dollars on feel-good, do nothing bull*****.

-AZ
 

ff-medic

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Oh goodie, another excuse to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on pie-in-the-sky radio systems that don't deliver on their promises of unicorns and rainbows for all.
Radio systems are upgraded, Sometimes it betters and agency to upgrade also, especially if their system is old.....as in 20 or more years old. Plus sometimes new radio systems help adapt to future ones without changing out the whole entire system.

If 9-11 taught us anything it's that throwing billions upon billions of dollars into a giant furnace of goverment spending hasn't made the boogeyman go away.
Radio systems are not designed to keep the "boogeyman" at bay, that is the Militarys and Law Enforcements job. Radio systems, relaiable and dependable.....help deal with when the " boogeyman" strikes, strikes fear and confusion onto a community. I wish I could be put in charge of upgrading my agencys.

There are nationwide interoperability channels on every band...
Correct." On every band" as you say. We are talking about talking from band to band. Communicating from UHF to VHFand UHF to 800 MHZ...ect. One Public Safety agency may be on 154.100, and need to talk to an agency on 453.200.

ALREADY that work just fine, spendhappy government. Use them and stop wasting our tax dollars on feel-good, do nothing bull*****.
-AZ
Emplacing good communcations for an agency, department, that is reliable and dependable is not wasteful spending. And I would rather put in a good and dependable radio system, than spend money cheaply on a radio system... and repeatedly fix it.


FF - Medic !!!
 
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AZScanner

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Sure it all sounds great in theory. Put everyone on the same band and modulation scheme and voila, we'll all be able to talk to each other, right?

Unfortunately theoreticals only go so far. We had an active shooter incident at a local mall last year. Several agencies responded, all of them have talkgroups on our shiny new $100M+ P25 digital simulcast trunking system. No one knew who was doing what or what talkgroup to monitor. 3 SWAT teams responded, and everyone wanted to take the lead role in the extraction and negotiations. No one knew who was in who's crossfire, who was talking to the suspect, when to go in after this guy, etc. At one point, they didn't even know who the suspect WAS and the guy almost got away due to all the miscommunication and confusion. The system also "bonked" several times when the officers were trying to relay information because everyone was trying to talk at once. It was a complete cluster. Thank God the guy finally surrendered. Had it gone sour, it's very likely that several officers would have been injured or even killed by crossfire.

The entire thing proved beyond any doubt that the city of Phoenix and dozens of other agencies/cities spent $100+ million dollars for nothing - they had the exact same problems with interoperability that they had before they wasted the money on this system. Of course the brass loves it, they have a gazillion new encrypted channels for the cops to use that the public can't monitor so scandals are more easy to keep a lid on, and the motorola salesmen who collected fat commission checks are happy as pigs in slop as are the politicians who found nice presents in their campaign funds in exchange for their approval of this turd.

If I sound bitter, I am. Scanning in this area used to be fun. Now it's damn near a waste of time to try to monitor these agencies. I liked having a feel for what was going on in my community. I liked knowing that there was a pursuit happening and warning my family members to stay clear of it. I liked knowing that the police were in my neighborhood looking for a burglar who was hopping from yard to yard at the moment so I could keep an eye out and let them know if I saw anything. Now all I hear is garbled, broken mess on the patrol channels half the time amid a sea of encryption on all the rest of them while I fume about all the things that $100 million dollars could have paid for, such as better equipment for our officers, better schools for our kids, better bus service, help for the homeless, hell even a better selection of library books so that now and then I might actually be able to CHECK OUT a book that I want to read instead of having to wait until (more like IF) the ONE COPY they have of it returns. Instead it got PISSED AWAY on a overpriced boondoggle.

Just remember in the quest for the holy grail of interoperabiltiy that the radio systems aren't the problem and throwing millions away on a new one won't solve it, no matter what that slick talking salesman from Motorola or Harris says.

-AZ
 

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Open Sky and Interoperability

This article is clearly a sales pitch for Open Sky. "It would be wise to check out Open Sky" It would be wiser to check the FOP halls of the folks who have to use it everyday.

The Open Sky interoperabilty answer is patches and switches. The success of this is well documented in Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach Police chief and OS backer resigned over that dud. How about the audio quality of the cross band patches?

How about one of the largest radio contracts, the $2B New York State Wireless big system. That didn't make it past testing. I think the lawyers are still arguing over the contract bond money.

How long did it take Oakland County to get that right? I'm not sure, but if I were to guess it was two sheriffs and at least 5 to 10 years. Oakland County sure does "stand out" amid the other surrounding counties that use the state system. The state MPSCS system is an example of something that does seem to work, at least everyone is on the same system, but Oakland is different. This is a momumental boondogle, only overshadowed by the Pontiac Silverdome. Build it and they will........?

I could go on; Naperville, Las Vegas, Steuben County IN, Pennsylvania, Milwaukee, check out Open Sky......

Open Sky = Caveat Emptor

The above are my opinion only. I am not a radio expert, but the above are examples of news articles that have appeared over the years regarding OS. I know nothing of IP radio, packet switching, digital simulcasting, narrowbanding, modulation schemes, trunking, great big digital radio systems, fishing, hunting, my wife, etc. I only read about when it does not work, and OS stands out this regard, in my opinion. I do hope it works for them, I hope everyone gets what they want.

I hear Open Sky Two is coming! Bring on the Powerpoints and Visio........
 

wa8pyr

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According to this document from Harris, their VIDA switch can handle OpenSky-P25 (and much more). This page has a video talking about the LCRA switch to P25 and Opensky (from EDACS) here in Central Texas. That video includes the graphic seen below:
Yes, but you missed my point. The VIDA switch is still dependent on network-level connectivity. Other than conventional frequencies there's no device to device interoperability, and if the network connections are lost the VIDA switch basically becomes a paperweight. For all it's touted features OpenSky is still totally proprietary and non-interoperable outside OpenSky users.
 

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I agree, this news article is a sales-pitch. I'm sure that the system is finally working now, and yes it took about 9-10 years to get it right when all adjacent counties are on the state-wide system.

It was a pride and politics that sold Oakland County on this crap, and it delivered on what they wanted to do in this smug Detroit suburbian/urban sprawling county: Shut out the public. 47 towers to cover a county that probably 17 MPSCS towers could cover if they were looking for 99% portable coverage, I'm not sure what the specs of the system are, but 47 towers is probably equal to the number of Verizon Wireless cell towers.

Of course money is no option here in this piece of suburbia, since I moved out here in August (from Wayne County), I've been in a radio monitoring hole to say the least. The only MPSCS towers I can get from here are in adjacent counties and the interop talkgroups? I never hear a peep out of them.
 

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We need one or two set systems nationwide.

I believe we need one or two set system setups for the all law inforcement and fire departments nationwide. That would help 100 percent on interoperability in most states in the Country.
 

ff-medic

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This article is clearly a sales pitch for Open Sky. "It would be wise to check out Open Sky" It would be wiser to check the FOP halls of the folks who have to use it everyday. ........
I predict that Harris is really trying to give Motorola, and others a run for their money. Watch for some really new radio products to come out in the next 5 to 7 years from radio communciation manufacturers, upgrade and interoperabilty changes. Everyone os on the bandwagon for streamlining.



The above are my opinion only. I am not a radio expert, but the above are examples of news articles that have appeared over the years regarding OS. I know nothing of IP radio, packet switching, digital simulcasting, narrowbanding, modulation schemes, trunking, great big digital radio systems, fishing, hunting, my wife, etc. I only read about when it does not work, and OS stands out this regard, in my opinion. I do hope it works for them, I hope everyone gets what they want.
........
Radio systems are like everything else in product purchases. Its about marketing. Simple marketing to get the consumers money. Some products are marketed better than others. If you look at the large sliding scale, some radio manufacturers market their radios better than others. With sales pitches on TV, articles and ads in national magazines, they try to draw in the consumer as to make larger sales than tehri competitors. Some become giants, such as Motorolas purchase of Vertex, and Harris Communications purchase of Tyco. Motorola got the Vertex market, and Harris got Tycos customers. Probably an income well worth the purchase, adn a return ten times the purchase amount.

I have no problem with Open Sky, Harris and...."Some" others. But I have always, and probably will be always; a simple DES / AES fan. I don't think local public safety agencys ( Fire-L/E-EMS ) has to worry about the Russians, Chinese, Japanese trying to decrypt their radios. I prefer radio signal scrambling / encryption over voice scrambling/encryption
 

ff-medic

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I believe we need one or two set system setups for the all law inforcement and fire departments nationwide. That would help 100 percent on interoperability in most states in the Country.
There is already natiowide frequencys nationwide for EMS - L/E - Fire. Most agencys get a license for far more radios than they have. Example, Town "A" gets a FCC license for its Fire Dept; for two fixed stations, and more than likely, about 200 mobiles. Now Town "A" only has 60 mobile units ( handhelds and vehicles ).

Town "B" can use Town "A's" radio frequency, for mutual aid and dual response, under Town "A's" FCC license. Town "B" has 40 mobiles ( ambulances, fire trucks and rescue apparatus ). So, their is really 100 mobile units to spare on the license, such as for local state agencys, ajoining county and other jurisdictions. UNLESS the FCC statutes has changed, and I am not aware, the above is still in effect. Usually FCC licensing for Land Mobile Licenses, for Public Safety Agencys, far surpass what they use, have and or need, especially mobile wise. The license may only be accurate for one thing, and that is for the fixed broadcast stations.

Nationwide freqs, such as 155.475 ( Nationwide Law Enforcement ) , I belive just crowds some of the radio spectrums with unused freqs that could be used somewhere else, in the ever constricting radio spectrums. Proper research by agecys applying for a FCC land Mobile radio license, as well as research and careful issuance of licensing by the FCC; will help Public Safety agencys in the future.

FF - Medic !!!
 
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ff-medic

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I: Shut out the public. 47 towers to cover a county that probably 17 MPSCS towers could cover if they were looking for 99% portable coverage, I'm not sure what the specs of the system are, but 47 towers is probably equal to the number of Verizon Wireless cell towers.
.
And twice the number of 800 MHZ towers installed, when money could have been saved and the number of towers reduced...sometimes by half, by using a simple VHF ( flat land ), or better a UHF ( hills and mountainous areas) radio system. And trying to get it through some peoples head, that 800 MHZ in simplex, is really not all that great, and in some instances..REALLY terrible.

FF - Medic !!!
 

ff-medic

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Just remember in the quest for the holy grail of interoperabiltiy that the radio systems aren't the problem and throwing millions away on a new one won't solve it, no matter what that slick talking salesman from Motorola or Harris says.

-AZ
The problem is radio managers not doing research. Listening and being sucked in by radio communications folks, whom promise this and promise that, saying.."You need this and you need that." Its like a radio guy trying to sell a 700-800-900 mhz radio system in Montana, and the radio admin guy...saying "Sure. I got this huge budget, its yours. Install the radio system." Then the radio guy laughs.....All the way to the bank. The contract is not proof read by agency, city, county attorneys ; and radio problems plague the radio guy, and he pays a tech, or techs to work on the radio system at a huge price, and the problem never gets fixed...cause the radio guys gets paid everytime they work on the radio system. It is a continous problem in America.

The key to installing a radio system is not to let the "Slick talking salesman" get to you, or yor wallet. A small monetary payment upfront ; then research and proof test, bug test the system after it is installed, before paying the full amount. Get a beneficial and binding contract with the radio folks, and if it goes wrong, breaks..THEY fix it. If you have " Super Secret" stuff in your radios, such as an encryption, get a non-disclosure agreement from them.


AES / DES ---------------------> FF - Medic !!!
 
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