Camden County, N.J., will spend $344,000 for a backup communications system for 950 law enforcement cars, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. VHF radios – considered a temporary fix to a larger problem – will be installed in every police, sheriff’s, and prosecutor’s vehicle in the next six weeks. Since 2002, the county’s 911 radio system has been shut down four times by interference caused by a powerful Boston television station’s digital transmissions.
The current backup system “is primitive,” said Rick Connor, the county’s technical-services director. Another problem is interoperability – the ability of one department to communicate with another. Police officers from different jurisdictions sometimes have difficulty communicating and with firefighters and emergency medical officers. The new radios will allow police officers to communicate directly with fire and medical officers at a scene without going through a central dispatch center. Ultimately, the county wants to construct a new UHF radio communications system on the 700- or 800-megahertz frequency, which would allow for much more sophisticated interdepartmental exchanges.