Police use of cellular phones

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ryradio

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Apologize for the newbie question:

Generally, how much do you think a police officer relies on his cell phone rather than his transciever to communicate with his base?

Why hasnt cellular technology made analog radio transmissions obsoulete?
 

GTR8000

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Cell phones won't replace radios anytime soon, if ever.

Radios are quicker and easier to use, as well as have the benefit of broadcasting transmissions to multiple receivers at the same time. That's crucial in public safety when you have more than one unit that needs to respond, or if only one unit is responding, everyone else is aware of that unit's assignment should they need backup.

A good radio network is also much more reliable than a cellular network that the agency has no control over. It's the same reason agencies maintain their own data networks, rather than relying on commercial services to carry their data. During the Northeast blackout of 2003, cell phones were rendered practically useless. Public safety radio networks kept on chugging along. Even if the repeater sites fail, there's almost always a backup simplex transmitter in place. At the very least, the radios themselves can usually fall back to some form of simplex point-to-point operation, so you're never completely out of touch with someone.
 

JonCinMN

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In my city I think they all have Nextels. I'll hear talk on car to car, then I'll hear "I'll call you on your Nextel". Wish I could hear the rest of the conversation...
 

WA1ATA

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In my city I think they all have Nextels. I'll hear talk on car to car, then I'll hear "I'll call you on your Nextel". Wish I could hear the rest of the conversation...
From my perspective, police using cellphone for confidential/sensitive conversations beats the alternative ---- encryption of the radio system.

Mobile Data Terminals are also used as an alternate method of sending sensitive or confidential info., allowing the main dispatch channel to be left in the clear.
 

CrabbyMilton

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Sometimes, it's easier to carry on a conversation especially when the subject of such is senstive in nature or the person at the other end cannot be reached via regualr radio channels.
 

comp2x2

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I've heard stuff similar to "please phone dispatch" or one office checking in with another and then saying "I'll call your cell". Usually I think these are for officer-to-officer communications, or extended/personal conversations with dispatch.
 

Raptor05121

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I've heard stuff similar to "please phone dispatch" or one office checking in with another and then saying "I'll call your cell". Usually I think these are for officer-to-officer communications, or extended/personal conversations with dispatch.
Exactly. When they ask us to "10-21" its usually something that would breach HIPAA over open-waves VHF. Around here, patient info is only allowed on UHF. When it's officer-to-officer, its usually bull-crap that is somewhat related to the task at hand: "yeah man, i got this pothead down here saying her boyfriend slugged her in the face, can you come on down once you finish that slushie and help me question this punk?" kind of thing. Basically, anything and everything that the public shouldn't hear.
 

datainmotion

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It's the same reason agencies maintain their own data networks, rather than relying on commercial services to carry their data.
Those data networks are in the minority though, mainly because they can't compare to the bandwidth available on cellular (picture dial-up vs. DSL or cable modem). And in the bigger picture, widespread cellular outages are fairly rare these days.
 

krokus

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So talking about patients on UHF is not a HIPAA violation, but VHF is?
 

CrabbyMilton

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In years gone by, officers used call boxes to call in. They are still used in some cities but with cellphones, not as much these days. Yes it would be neat to hear what they say but we couldn't tune in back when they used call boxes either. You have to remember that police and firefighters don't talk on the radio to entertain us. If that is what you think then you will be disappointed. I question anyone who loves to bash cops with those dought comments. I'm sure many officers themselves joke about it too but some go to far which borders hatred for these people that fight the crimimal slime everyday.
I've always said that people who have a problem with police are part of the problem.
 

freqs

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For the purposes of this discussion, it's a "cell phone". Let's not get bogged down in the behind-the-curtain technicalities. :wink:
Not all Nextel's can be used as cell phones our Nextel's at Waste Management the truck dash mounted Nextel's have no cell service in them
 
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Again I post Nextel is not a cell phone, if you don't know the difference don't dismiss other folks postings. Nextel has the ability to do group broadcasts, a lot like a talkgroup on a trunked radios system. Nextel has been actively marketed to Public Safety agencies as a alternative to owning their own radio system but to contract with Nextel for their communications needs. If you don't know your subject matter don't comment on the postings of others.
 

KD0LDK

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So talking about patients on UHF is not a HIPAA violation, but VHF is?
Maybe his UHF system is encrypted, just a guess. I can't imagine VHF being in violation and just because it's a UHF frequency, it not being.

I don't think cellphones will ever make radio communications obsolete.
 

Arizona_Scanner

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Apologize for the newbie question:

Generally, how much do you think a police officer relies on his cell phone rather than his transciever to communicate with his base?

Why hasnt cellular technology made analog radio transmissions obsoulete?
Cops generally don't use a cell phone to talk to a dispatcher. That's what the radio system is for. For talking to other units, they almost always use the radio, unless they are friends with a particular cop and they share phone numbers. They may call certain desk personnel in the police offices at times. At any rate, the radio is and will remain their primary tool.
 

WA1ATA

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Cops generally don't use a cell phone to talk to a dispatcher. That's what the radio system is for. For talking to other units, they almost always use the radio, unless they are friends with a particular cop and they share phone numbers. They may call certain desk personnel in the police offices at times. At any rate, the radio is and will remain their primary tool.
My observations in 2 different cities on opposite coasts of the country differ.

I often hear police dispatchers say things like "Tom-4 10-21 dispatch", or "401 please call radio".

The context of what is going on leads me to believe that, although sometimes the phone calls relate to personal business, that more often it is to have extended, detailed conversations about a particular service call.

I have also heard the MDT's or "box" being used to convey info they did not wish to broadcast on an unencrypted radio channel. One particular incident that comes vividly to mind is when an officer was dispatched to a call where an elderly woman reported that someone was in her attic. The dispatcher informed the officer that this was the third call for this identical problem that week. The officer closed out the call with "disposition sent via the box". A few seconds later the dispatcher, with a light-hearted humorous tone in his voice responded "excellent disposition!".

I've always wondered how the officer had resolved the problem. :lol:
 

Arizona_Scanner

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My observations in 2 different cities on opposite coasts of the country differ.

I often hear police dispatchers say things like "Tom-4 10-21 dispatch", or "401 please call radio".

The context of what is going on leads me to believe that, although sometimes the phone calls relate to personal business, that more often it is to have extended, detailed conversations about a particular service call.

I have also heard the MDT's or "box" being used to convey info they did not wish to broadcast on an unencrypted radio channel. One particular incident that comes vividly to mind is when an officer was dispatched to a call where an elderly woman reported that someone was in her attic. The dispatcher informed the officer that this was the third call for this identical problem that week. The officer closed out the call with "disposition sent via the box". A few seconds later the dispatcher, with a light-hearted humorous tone in his voice responded "excellent disposition!".

I've always wondered how the officer had resolved the problem. :lol:
Yes I will agree there. If they need to call someone at a desk in the station for a big conversation, then the phone will be used. You also make a good point that if the agency in question does NOT have encryption capability, there are bound to be more phone calls made, even for little things that would otherwise go over the radio.

20 years ago Phoenix PD used only two VHF simplex talk channels for the whole department. I made sure I had the highest tower possible (50' above the roof line) and a great antenna / coax setup so that I could hear most everything within about 10-12 miles or so. In those days the guys would chat at length about all sorts of interesting things...long conversations. Of course this is back when many cops still didn't have cell phones so the radio was EVERYTHING to the typical patrol guy. The detectives who used UHF radios mostly, often had to use the VHF simplex channels too because they just plain worked better, so I would sometimes get to hear the cloak and dagger stuff. The UHF radios had a crude form of encryption, the VHF radios didn't, so I always enjoyed it when that happened. Now with a cutting edge P25 simulcast system and the latest encryption capabilities, those days are gone forever here in Phoenix, but there is still plenty to monitor.
 
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n1das

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Again I post Nextel is not a cell phone, if you don't know the difference don't dismiss other folks postings. Nextel has the ability to do group broadcasts, a lot like a talkgroup on a trunked radios system. Nextel has been actively marketed to Public Safety agencies as a alternative to owning their own radio system but to contract with Nextel for their communications needs. If you don't know your subject matter don't comment on the postings of others.
NEXTEL "phones" operate under Part 90 whereas cell phones operate under Part 22. As rfradioconsult said, NEXTELs are ESMR.

In my area, I've heard officers tell another officer to give them a "chirp".
 
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