Radcliff Police Upgrade To Apco P25 Digital

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Nov 8, 2004
Credit Goes To The Sentinel:

New Radcliff Police Radio System Valuable Tool in Keeping Community Safe

The adage talk is cheap rings true in many cases, but it doesn't apply to the Radcliff Police Department. In fact, its communications division is nearing the completion of an expensive and complex three-phase upgrade which will revolutionize the department's communications capabilities.

For the past two years, the department has been pushing forward with plans to transition its radio communications from an analog to a digital system. In the first phase, the department obtained grant funding to upgrade the mobile or hand-held radios carried by each offier. The enhanced radios cost nearly $54,000.00

The second phase of the massive project revolved around the department's communications hub-dispatch and the tower from which the department transmits. Spending just under $100,000 in grant fudning, officals laid the groundwork for the next and final phase of the project.

Working on phase three for the past several months, the department is nearly finished with the final aspect of the upgrade. The city is working to equip the department's entire vehicle fleet with mobile, enhanced radio sy stems which are digital capable.

Communications Supervisor Jeff Hale said phase three is approximately 60-65% complete. The conversion from analog to digital will not only enable the department to transmit their calls more clearly, but they will do so on secure airwaves, increasing officer and ultimately public safety.

RCS Communications specialist David Kunzman who has assisted the city with this project explained that FM Transmissions - the frequency on which the department currently transmits have a narrow band in which they operate. That narrow band produces a noisy,static-filled transmission which may vary based on the pitch and volume of the person speaking.

Digital transmissions are far more superior, Kunzman added.

How will the communications upgrades effect the average citizen? Actually most area residences won't even be aware of the transmission. Only scanner-hounds will hear the difference in the sound of silence.

Operating on a secure system, transmissions between dispatch and officers, as well as radio transmissions between officers will be unreadable by those not associated with the department. <--- Ya Right

The decision to convert to the secure, digital system wasn't made solely by local officals. In fact, a new directive from Homeland Security dictates that if public communications systems are upgraded, they must be Project 25 complaint. P25, explained Radcliff Police Captain Willie Wells is a new national standard for emergency response comunications.

Wells is currently in the process of applying for another grant which could potentially pay for the fleet radios, which are expected to cost nearly $1,800 each.

With phases I & II of the new radio s ystem already in place, the mobile radios are not negotiable. Radcliff must complete the conversion and it will be an expensive purchase if the city fails to receive the grant.

Wells admitted he is somewhat concerned because an increased number of agencies are applying for homeland security the homeland security grants. As the field becomes more comeptitive, funding becomes less and less accessible.

This system is a tool to make our city safer. As long as ****s are there, we'll continue to apply for them explained Captain Wells.

In addition to the digital hand-helds, a few of the department's vehicles are already eqipped with the new emhanced radios. Its just a matter of time before the entire department transitions.

I'll be glad to see it happen. Its the right thing to do for the officers. Our number one concern is officer safety and this system will enable our officers to communicate on conversation-quality lines said Hale.

This system he added will carry the department into the next decades. The department will be using it for the next 20 years.

Wells agreed, saying the city's communcations division is fast becoming "head and shoulders" above most other police agencies in the state.

When the project is compelte, Radcliff will become one of three emergnecy services systems in the county to be P-25 complaint. The Kentucky State Police & Hardin County Control already meets this security directive.

However, Radcliff's is the only system within the county which will be able to transmit and receive on all digital Hale added. Radcliff officials hope that their conversion will also enable the Vine Grove Police Department to become P-25 compliant. Radcliff provides dispatch services for the Vine Grove Department.

Radcliff's Phase I grant included six hand-held,digital capable radios for the Vine Grove Police. Radcliff intends to include Vine Grove in their quest to obtain grant funding for the in-vehicle radios as well.

We will partner with Vine Grove on this grant application. We'd be remiss if we didn't. They're a valuable part of our team commented Wells.
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