Interoperability non-existant in Dauphin county

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By luck I happened to be scanner listening sunday when a shooting occured at the Harrisburg Mall. Although th PD responded quickly and seemed to give it a good effort,there was no direct communication possible between Swatara Tp. PD, PSP, the Mall security, and Harrisburg city PD. Dauphin county politicos don't seem to take seriously the the need to intercommunicate between agencies. At various times during the incident, it was announced that Dauphin co. units were not equipped to operate on "national" to talk to PSP. How much would it cost the taxpayers of Dauphin co. to buy a couple hundred simple 155.475 trancievers to give to the PD to use in incidents such as this? Add that to PSP's antiquated simplex system still in use in Dau. co. thanks to open scam, what a joke! needless to say the shooters got away!
 

Mattsenft

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I have a bit of communications background in Dauphin county. Like always PSP is the odd man out. All the other agencies you listed are uhf conventional and most have all the others operating frequencies programmed in their radios. With the exception of the fact there is currently not a really good system in place for a dispatcher to patch them together the units do have interoperability by means of switching the channel in their mobile/portable radio. Just remember as will always be true of the public safety community, even though some of us choose to make communications a hobby, there will be others who know the minimum to get by. For a number of the agencies involved interoperability may have been as simple as pushing a button.
 

NodrogCop

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As Mattsenft said, PSP has *always* been the odd man out in Dauphin. However, I can't believe their choppers at least aren't frequency agile...

As for Harrisburg PD and the county units, all of them should have the county's felony channel in their radios. When I worked there (and bordered Hbg), felony is what we used, especially for in-progress calls.

As for security, I dunno. They're on UHF, and maybe Swatara has their channel in their radios, I don't know.

Gordon
 

HM1529

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The hardest part of interoperability is END USER understanding. As was already mentioned, anybody reading this board finds it hard to believe, but there are plenty of law enforcement folks who view the radio as no different than the flashlight on their belt...just another tool to use and it should work when I hit the button.

Believe me, I've trained with people just like this at terrorism drills before.

There are lots of areas where there are workable interop solutions that do not get implemented either because the officers or the dispatchers don't know what to do. Sad, but true. It happens in my corner of the state all the time.

In Montco, all but two local PD's are on the county trunked system (and we have a lot of PD's) and there are still issues all the time with different police departments "not being able to talk" to another nearby PD. Cross a county line around here and you may as well have gone to Mars. However, there are multiple interop solutions available around here. I've had more than one moment where I wanted to call the comm center and walk the dispatcher through what they should be doing to get people talking together...can be quite frustrating.

Of course, I'm talking about a place where all the hazmat responders are required to respond on different fire channels (depending on their location) on our two zone Smartzone system. Do we use a countywide talkgroup? No, we use three talkgroups (two of which are affiliated with only one of the two zones making it tough to know who's responding without resorting to cell phone chains).
 
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csvff78

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In Allegheny County I have heard the PSP cars on city and county UHF channels. PSP chopper 5 has been on county VHF and numerous PD UHF channels. The helo seems to be able to bring up just about any freq they have needed. I'm a little surprised that PSP doesn't have that capability throughout the state.

I don't think I've heard the reverse, local police switching to PSP. There are a few agencies that do use 155.475 now and then.

Frank K3FSS
 

scan-pa

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DauCo. PD F-4 460.2500 pl 203.5 Rptr. is the same as HBG City PD F-6

It is the DauCo. Tactical Channel in use.

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PSP does have local LEA freqs for those users who operate in the same VHF Hi-Band.

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With the new system, there will not be a problem with interoperablity between
anyone in DauCo & Hbg City and PSP, EMA, FEMA, PEMA, And all Surrounding Counties.

I have seen some of the Talk Group pre plans, for Interop / M/A / Common TG's there is like 22 that I have seen. Looks like Dauphin will be doing the same thing as York, Cumberland, and Lebanon are doing. Multiple tg patched to old Conventional radio systes, other Counties Trunked Systems, and the StarNET system and also access to patch in any of the new VHF-Hi, UHF, 800 Public Safety and Federal Interops Channels.

and from the looks of things with the number of Systems and Sites and the number of Frequencies licenced for phase 1 of the DauCo radio Project, DauCo's Radio system is being well Designed.

I can not wait till they get the trunked system built out and online for testing.
 

brey1234

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Psp

In the 1980's there was a major chase in Lackawanna County. A mental patient stole a large truck and was crashing into cars---going up on sidewalks--basically putting a lot of people in danger. I was in WNEP-TV's chopper and we were broadcasting the chase live--warning people where the truck was and telling folks to stay inside in the affected neighborhoods.
As the chase progressed there were 20 PSP and local Pd's cars all lined up chasing the truck. THEY COULD NOT TALK TO EACH OTHER even through they were inches apart.The crew in the chopper had a Wofsburg programmable radio and was better equiped as far as interop than PSP.

After the chase ended (the truck looked like swiss cheese from all the bullet holes) PSP decided to put local pd channels in their cars. Most of the local pds in the northeast on on VHF.

That has worked well and it's not uncommon to hear PSP pop up on a "local" system. It also allowed PSP to listen to the local traffic as to what was going on.
Of course with the new PSP system that will all go out the window (unless the PSP vhf radios stay)
Again the current system allows Troopers to communicate with locals by flipping a channel selector--as I understand the new system--the locals would have to know enough to change their channel to national or, if UHF, to one of the 4 freqs set aside to allow Open Sky to be "changed" to analog.

The "old" system was much easier. Remember: the more complicated plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain!
 

ctrabs74

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brey1234 said:
Of course with the new PSP system that will all go out the window (unless the PSP vhf radios stay)
Considering that I still hear some occasional traffic on the PSP channels out of Lancaster County, that seems to be the plan. Also, IIRC, PSP recently renewed the licenses for the VHF freqs.
 

HM1529

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ctrabs74 said:
Considering that I still hear some occasional traffic on the PSP channels out of Lancaster County, that seems to be the plan. Also, IIRC, PSP recently renewed the licenses for the VHF freqs.
I was previously told that PSP would retain all their VHF equipment until the entire agency was up and running on STARNET and all the bugs were worked out. After that (whenever that point comes), they'd be decomissioning the VHF stuff.
 

CommJunkie

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benrussellpa said:
In Montco, all but two local PD's are on the county trunked system (and we have a lot of PD's) and there are still issues all the time with different police departments "not being able to talk" to another nearby PD. Cross a county line around here and you may as well have gone to Mars. However, there are multiple interop solutions available around here. I've had more than one moment where I wanted to call the comm center and walk the dispatcher through what they should be doing to get people talking together...can be quite frustrating.

Of course, I'm talking about a place where all the hazmat responders are required to respond on different fire channels (depending on their location) on our two zone Smartzone system. Do we use a countywide talkgroup? No, we use three talkgroups (two of which are affiliated with only one of the two zones making it tough to know who's responding without resorting to cell phone chains).
You aren't kidding. I'm in Delco and we use UHF 500. Montgomery County, Chester County, Philadelphia County, and New Castle County (the 4 bordering counties) are all on 800mhz systems. Delaware County (as far as I know) is happy with the 500 system, as are pretty much all of the users, but we would be screwed if we had a major incident. Generally, the stations that travel across county lines have those radios. Some stations have them all (that's a lot of freakin radios), but not all have some. Delaware County holds licenses for the National 800mhz Interop Channels, but has no radios to put them in.
 
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