Washington Co Tn

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tngeezer

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Aug 1, 2009
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Jonesborough tn.
Washington Co and Johnson City Tn have migrated to the P25 for everyones information.I understand that the sheriffs office are even having problems with the new radios ,paticularly with reception.A repeater has been installed on top of the Washington county detention center.There are many bugs to work out .I dont know if anyone is sucesfully scanning.The CLEO has not even equiped all the Law enforcment officers with radios.Lots of encrypted frequencies. HELP if its out there!
 

illauto

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Jul 4, 2004
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2
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east tennessee
Washington Co and Johnson City Tn have migrated to the P25 for everyones information.I understand that the sheriffs office are even having problems with the new radios ,paticularly with reception.A repeater has been installed on top of the Washington county detention center.There are many bugs to work out .I dont know if anyone is sucesfully scanning.The CLEO has not even equiped all the Law enforcment officers with radios.Lots of encrypted frequencies. HELP if its out there!
Story Published on Saturday, January 2, 2010

Police scanner enthusiasts in Washington County may have been a little surprised in late November when they suddenly could no longer hear law enforcement, fire and medical dispatchers sending responders to emergency calls.
The reason for the sudden quiet airways – the city of Johnson City completed the switch from an analog communications system to a digital one.

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Johnson City owns the communication system, but it services all of Washington County *– all city services, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, county volunteer fire departments, Jonesborough public safety and fire, and Washington County/Johnson City EMS.

It’s a new way of communicating for emergency services that brings more coverage, better clarity and advanced security options, according to those who manage and use the system.

The discussion to move from analog to digital began about six years ago when the FCC began a rebanding process. Tim Henley, director of motor transport and communications for the city of Johnson City, said that process was necessary because cell phones were interfering with public safety radios nationwide.

“There was interference with Sprint/Nextel phones and public safety radios. Sprint/Nextel had to put up a substantial amount of money for this rebanding process to take place,” he said.

The cell phone company bought a portion of the 800 Mhtz band and the FCC began the process to move moving public safety communications to a different sector of the band, Henley said.

The money Sprint/Nextel had to provide for the rebanding was dispersed to public safety agencies nationwide to offset the cost of having radios retuned or purchasing new radios.

“When you moved (on the band) you got radios retuned, radios replaced. At that time we though it was in our best interest to do a new communications system because we could take the money and put it toward a new system instead of retune 20-year-old radios,” Henley said.

That’s where the “latest and greatest” system Motorola has to offer came into the picture.

It’s a digital P25 system that, in addition to better coverage and better clarity, allows public safety to encrypt some of their communications so no one can hear what is being said. Even police scanner enthusiasts who are willing to shell out the $500 for the digital trunking scanner to listen to police, fire and medical calls, if the communications are encrypted, all the listener will hear is digitized garble.

But according to Henley and others on the administrative side of the system, the encryption is only used for the transfer of sensitive or personal information about a person or suspect.

Standing beside Washington County Deputy Kevin Sanders when he called in a traffic stop, the information relayed back from the dispatcher is clearly audible. But to hear it transmitted on the new digital police scanner that a private citizen would normally listen to, the transmission is garbled.

Allen Kyker, communications and fleet supervisor for Washington County, said that’s exactly the type of information the public shouldn’t hear.

“On the records channel, if they run people’s driver’s license and get history on (the person) and personal information, we didn’t feel the public needed to know or hear that over a scanner,” Kyker said.

“It’s not something you want everybody to hear.”

Kyker said communication has improved for officers on patrol in the outer areas of Washington County, but there are still locations difficult to get a signal.

“It is better (and) we have a lot smaller coverage problems,” Kyker said. “The areas that were not covered before have shrunk. There are still the same areas (without coverage) but they are much smaller.”

Kyker said the Lamar and Southside communities, where radio communications were sketchy on the analog system, have improved drastically.

“It seems to have taken care of those areas,” he said. But in Fall Branch, officers still have some difficulty getting a radio signal.

“We had areas in the county that weren’t covered before. It’s a lot better than it was. We still have some areas that are not covered, but that is not something we were not dealing with before,” he said.

While the town of Jonesborough incurred the smallest cost to upgrade for the digital system, Public Safety Director Craig Ford said he’s been frustrated by the “unfunded federal mandate.”

At a cost of $205,000, the town financed the police, fire department and its dispatch office upgrade over a three-year period.

Nonetheless, the move has “been pretty seamless for us,” he said.

The central link that brings all the agencies together is the Washington County Emergency Communications District. In short, 911.

Randall Lewis, assistant director at 911, said the transition has been “pretty seamless.”

The process has taken some coordination between 911 and each agency 911 dispatches for, Lewis said.

“We replaced all of our equipment and upgraded our backup equipment. We retrained our users for totally new equipment,” he said.

Instead of a push-button type panel dispatchers used to contact police, fire or medical units, the now use a touch screen monitor.

“The field units basically had to switch a channel on their radio. We had take our old equipment out and bring our new equipment in for our dispatchers to use,” Lewis said.

Even with the new equipment, the actual dispatching process has not changed, he said.


The coverage is alot better than before the switch over.The officers were all issued radios long before the switch over to P25 and none has been without a radio. we only have one area of the county that is lacking in coverage and that area is smaller than before. With the testing that has been done to this point we are in alot better shape than we were with the analog system.
 
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