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Illegal to use cellphones for dispatch?

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n8chb

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I'm not up on Canadain law but I would doubt much would come of it.

In the US it's illegal for law inforcement to even use cellphones for dispatch unless in an emergancy and strictly against the law to use any type of unregistored encription.

I would not want to see the return of the 1940's SS.

Public safety operating in secrecy is not cool.


Roger - n8chb
 

n8chb

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Mike_Oxlong said:
Can you cite a reference to your claims? They seem pretty farfetched.
I'm not sure how to answer you Mike, can you be more specific.

Roger
 

mikewazowski

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This is a continuation of http://www.radioreference.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40774 which really doesn't have any reason to be in the Eastern Canada forum. It's more suited to the General Scanning forum.

I'd like to see some sort of legal reference to back up your claim that it's illegal to use cellphones for dispatch or use unregistered encryption (what's considered unregistered).

Basically I don't believe any such laws exist and I'd like to see some proof.
 

mancow

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No law exists in the States that I am aware of.

You can use anything from 40-960 or so with no license as long as it's below 5 watts too. We used DES, rolling code, P25, whatever is handy. It doesn't matter.
 

BigEd1314

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well where i live, they use nextel to dispatch public safety units to calls. and if they are not reachable on the nextel, they call them on the radio and tell them to call dispatch for further. just thought i'd say that.
 

JoeyC

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Long before cellphones, blackberrys or MDTs, calls of a sensitive nature were often heard over the air with the dispatcher stating something similar to: "311 Adam 10-21 (landline) dispatch for a call." I can't imagine any law prohibiting dispatching calls over the phone. It's generally not done, as its not very efficient or effective. Agencies may have policies discouraging such, but a law, nah.
 

rdale

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There is no such law preventing dispatches from being made over phone. There is no law against encrypted dispatches. And neither is related to the SS.
 

jf222

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text messaging for VFD

In Chautuaqua County, NY fire dispatches are by pager, and for those who wish, by text messaging to their cell phones. Many times the text message is received from the call taker, even before the dispatcher has toned out the call. This is to eliminate the usual questions: "Can you repeat that address?...What is the nature of the call?... Do you have cross-streets for that location?. All of this is part of the text message.
 

DickH

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n8chb ... In the US it's illegal for law inforcement to even use cellphones for dispatch unless in an emergancy and strictly against the law ... [/QUOTE said:
It may be illegal in Canton, MI, but where else?
And what's the difference between "illegal" and "strictly against the law" ?
 

DaveNF2G

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jf222 said:
This is to eliminate the usual questions: "Can you repeat that address?...What is the nature of the call?... Do you have cross-streets for that location?. All of this is part of the text message.
There would be fewer such questions if dispatchers were trained:

1) Not to mumble.
2) To speak slowly and clearly when dispatching.
3) To read the entire job before starting to voice dispatch it.

Excess reliance on CAD, text messaging, etc., has produced some very sloppy dispatching around the state.
 

DaveNF2G

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There might be some confusion on the "illegal to use Nextel for dispatch" issue. Under FCC regulations (can't find them right now but I know they are there), it is (or was?) unlawful for cellphone-like services to be set up in a "dispatch" configuration where they can be used for one-to-many communications. These devices were originally authorized as one-to-one communication devices and were not intended to compete with regular mobile radio services.

That is probably why Nextel had to buy out all those radio shops and set up "normal" trunking services. They couldn't just use their iDEN network to wipe out the two-way business because such use would have been against the regs.

It is not illegal for Nextel customers to dispatch using Nextels - it's just stupid.
 

Al42

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DaveNF2G said:
There would be fewer such questions if dispatchers were trained:

1) Not to mumble.
2) To speak slowly and clearly when dispatching.
3) To read the entire job before starting to voice dispatch it.

Excess reliance on CAD, text messaging, etc., has produced some very sloppy dispatching around the state.
When I was dispatching nearly 40 years ago, Dave, there was no CAD, text messaging or cell phones, but people routinely asked for repeats on a job that someone next to me had dispatched - while I, who wasn't paying attention to the dispatch, could have repeated it word for word, including cross streets, phone numbers, etc. It was usually the same people asking for the repeats, though. And, from my observations of these people when they were using the radio, some people respond to a call when they're not ready to pay attention to the radio. It's like the "go ahead" is just to kill time until they're ready and ask for "a repeat" which, to them, is the actual dispatch. But they don't want the dispatcher to think that they're not responding.

Some of the dispatchers even joked about it - telling other dispatchers to send particular people into the river, or to non-existent intersections, since that person never listened to the intitial transmission anyway.

Some people, of course, just can't understand the simplest things. Try a 9-11 call in NYC for the FDR at E 90 St. Some dispatchers look at the terminal and tell you that the location doesn't exist. And, if you look at a map, they're correct - as far as being techincally correct is concerned.

(For those not familiar with NYC, E 90 St. ends just short of the highway - but that spot on the highway is still FDR at E 90 St. to eveyone who ever stands there or any New Yorker who even thinks about it.)
 

mastr

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DaveNF2G said:
There would be fewer such questions if dispatchers were trained:

1) Not to mumble.
2) To speak slowly and clearly when dispatching.
3) To read the entire job before starting to voice dispatch it.

Excess reliance on CAD, text messaging, etc., has produced some very sloppy dispatching around the state.
True. OTOH, have any of you with dispatching experience noticed that the an officer's time on the force, and the rank he/she attains is inversely proportional to intelligibility on the radio? Rookies speak clearly and are sure to call and get a "go ahead" before lengthy traffic is passed. Senior officials invariably mumble or slur words and suffer from what I call the "push to talk syndrome"- they are convinced that when their own mic is keyed the entire world comes to a screeching halt just to copy them.

About the OP, as far as I know there is no law against dispatching via Nextel, cell phone or tin cans and string for that matter.
 

car2back

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jf222 said:
In Chautuaqua County, NY fire dispatches are by pager, and for those who wish, by text messaging to their cell phones......All of this is part of the text message.

YIKES! I wonder what their ISO rating is b/c of this? :roll:
 
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jmp883

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Some interesting posts.

I've got 16 years behind the mic as a public safety dispatcher.....here's my take:

There are no laws banning the use of Nextel/phones for dispatch that I've ever heard of.

My agency requires all dispatches to go via radio. Sensitive information may be relayed via MDT to the responding unit(s).

As for DaveNF2G's post:

There would be fewer such questions if dispatchers were trained:

1) Not to mumble.
2) To speak slowly and clearly when dispatching.
3) To read the entire job before starting to voice dispatch it.

Excess reliance on CAD, text messaging, etc., has produced some very sloppy dispatching.
That statement is not entirely true. While CAD, text messaging, and cellphone/Nextels may have caused dispatch skills to get sloppy it may have also been responsible for the people on the other side of the microphone to get just as sloppy. I don't mean to offend anyone but that is the absolute truth. I'm the senior dispatcher on the night shift (6pm-6am) with 3 other dispatchers on my crew. We've all been trained to get as much information as possible from the caller and to put that information out on the dispatch. Our computer/radio work is constantly being reviewed so we're all in the habit of getting all that information and putting it out clearly and coherently.

However my agency has cops/fd/ems personnel who ask the most idiotic questions. We will put out a call, state that that is all the information available, give the cross streets the call is between and here come the questions:

Who called?
Why did they call?
Where are they calling from?
What do they want us to do?
Call them back and ask them this, this and that for me.

I've heard these questions, on the air, from the road lieutenants down to the zone patrol units.....over and over again, on all types of emergent and non-emergent calls. And this is from a PD that requires a minimum of 60 college credits just to apply for the test to be an officer.

Unfortunately there are some EMS/FD personnel that are just as bad. An example of that is our EMS when responding on any working structure fire. Some of our EMS crews will always make the following radio call: 'Unit *** is on-scene. Where is the fire building?' My reply to that, which gets me written up by EMS each time I do it: 'Unit *** my guess is that it's the building with the flames coming out of it and all the fire trucks parked in front.' First off, if you have to ask where the fire building is then you are not on scene yet. Secondly, if you cannot figure out which building on the street is on fire I'm not so sure I'd want to trust you to be able to save my life as an EMT.

Our FD is a little better......we have 5 companies and most of them are pretty good. We do have 1 chief that runs around like a chicken with his head cut off at any call-working fire or not. We also have members who will ask on the radio that they are at the firehouse and if they should respond with an apparatus. I've been a volunteer firefighter in my town for 19 years and I've yet to be dispatched to a call where we can use our private vehicles as primary response vehicles. You roll with a crew, if you're not needed you will be returned. If not you respond in the apparatus safely, based on the initial dispatch and any updates given by units already on scene.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm superior to anyone else. I'm not....I'm human and I make mistakes too. It's just that I try not to ask those 'Bill Engvall-Here's Your Sign' type of questions.

Our officers are very well paid and college educated. It annoys the hell out of me to hear them ask these stupid questions on the air, even more so because after 16 years of dispatching I'm still not making even $30,000 a year while they're making upwards of $50-60,000 right out of the academy. I never went to college yet I was trained to do my job and I do it as I was trained.

Why do some PD/FD/EMS personnel insist on being the way they are? :confused:
 

car2back

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jmp883 said:
......my agency has cops/fd/ems personnel who ask the most idiotic questions. We will put out a call, state that that is all the information available, give the cross streets the call is between and here come the questions.......
My favorite is after dispatching a 911-hangup in the rural portion of the Oklahoma county I work in is when the responding officer gets on the radio and says something like "County, I am having trouble finding the address, can you call the RP (reporting party) back and get directions from xxx?

"Uh, negitive, unit xx, it was a 911 hangup, there was no Reporting Party! :lol: "
 

n8chb

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Mike_Oxlong said:
Can you cite a reference to your claims? They seem pretty farfetched.
Hi Mike,

Could be that what I said might be viewed by some as far fetched and maybe not.
I'm not so insecure that I feel the need to prove anything but your welcome to disprove it if you chose.

If you really really want to learn more try this link and look under Legal issues involving cryptography
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptography

My comments by some have been questioned and that's fine but lets keep to the point.

If the Canadian police are conducting normal operations in secrecy that should be of consern to everyone.
If they are appionted to serve the people that wrote the laws then they are not above them.

The Cellphone thing is more of a joke than anything but worth mentioning. I think the police are breaking the law
if they are conducting normal comunications from a fixed station to mobile units out and about.
A cellphone is not radio standards specifcation / type excepted radio device for certain police activitys and I think it's wrong to be using them.

If true someone please tell me why billions of my tax money is being spent on new radio communictions when
all they need to do is make use of commercial cell phones. ( commercial allotted frequencies come under some very differant regulations
than public safety does)

Now let me explain about encription. Every type of code / encription method has to be regersterd by universal law.
No one can send a coded message in a way that is not eccepted. (not to say they don't)

To put it simple the digital noise heard over police radios is no big secreit. If it was there would be no scanner on the market
that could decode the signal into audio. The real problem as I see it is that the police are finding ways around the
law to make it harder for folks to hear them. One way is unlocking code methods. Many are awere of what they are doing and many
disapprove.

If you dissagree with everything thing I have said please say to yourself do you really want your local police department
conducting all operations in secrecy?

I do not, and that's what I thought the original post was all about.

prove me wrong if you feel the need,

Roger Breckon - n8chb

ps: sorry about the delay I was having fun working field day over the weekend.
 

JoeyC

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This thread is starting to sound like another "I paid for those radios, they have no right to encrypt them" threads.:roll:
 
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