New LAPD Radios

The following was posted on the SoCalScan Yahoo! Group by Harry Marnell, N6URU on March 1, 2007.  Some good information on the (possible) future of LAPD communications.

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LAPD has started fielding new mobile radios – *real* mobiles – Motorola XTL5000s – http://urlcutter.com/XTL5000 but reportedly trunk-mounted with just the control head up front. Don’t know a lot about its configuration, but it does have a “home” button which switches the radio back to its home frequency, and an emergency trigger.

First ones have gone to some staff and specialized units, and they are being installed in new cars (black & whites and plain cars) as they hit the streets. It’s unknown how soon the existing cars’ vehicle adapters (aka ConvertaComs) will get replaced, but I’m hearing “hopefully by the end of 2007.”

New portables are apparently still a ways out, perhaps another year, but there’s a likelihood that they will be XTS5000s, which have been seen on some hips around Parker Center. There were several other makes and models being beta-tested over the past year or two, but apparently Motorola’s got the contract.

No word about encryption, but a word being bandied about rather loudly is “trunking,” which may be in the works:

There was some discussion on here a while back about a possible countywide trunked, digital system – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/socalscan/message/53221– and it looks as if that’s becoming more and more likely. On January 9 the County Board of Supervisors established the new “Regional Communications System Joint Powers Authority” whose board will consist of one representative from each: LAPD, LAFD, LASD, LACoFD, the LA City & County CAOs, Co Dept of Health Services, LA County Police Chiefs’ & LA County Fire Chiefs’ Associations, and 2 reps each from the Independent Cities Assn and the Contract Cities Assn. The plan is for APCO P-25 trunked voice on UHF, and data on 800 MHz.

It’s not a done deal, and there’s a lot of money to be gotten ($480-605 million), mostly from DHS, and many hurtles to be overcome, but they appear to be focused and serious about it. As the County Administrative Officer told the supes at that meeting,

“It is a rather remarkable situation that we find ourselves in with respect to interoperability communications for public safety, voice and data. The Sheriff, ISD, Dave Lambertson [Co Internal Services Dept], Mike Freeman with the city police, Bratton, Bamattre, the City CAO, ICIS which is a regional north county communications system [sic], representative of regional fire, regional police, for about two years have come together as a region with a recommended regional solution for communications and we have an agreement. There is a tentative agreement on the Joint Powers Authority which would be responsible for building and operating this regional system. It is an incredible example of regional cooperation in a county of 10 million people. The Sheriff has spoken to Senator Boxer, who is going to pursue federal funding for this undertaking. It would be the largest in the nation, maybe in the world.” The supes voted unanimously for it, and now it presumably goes out to all the cities who want to participate.

Here’s the report on which the Board of Supervisors voted:
http://lacounty.info/bos/sop/supdocs/29697.pdf

And the 295 page (15 MB) consultant’s report is at
http://harrymarnell.com/LAinterop2006.pdf– that’s the one that started out as LAFD’s wondering about moving to UHF, but blossomed into this.

ICIS is referenced a number of times in the latter, and it seems to be very much a “model” for what they want to do countywide, and it also addresses how ICIS could be part of the system apparently without any inordinately huge disruptions.

Back to LAPD, I never thought I’d see the day that they would be ready to embrace trunking, but then 9/11 happened, Bratton rode into town, and two key players within the city who were strongly against going trunked have since retired. Having said that, though, I don’t expect LAPD to reconfigure their new stuff to trunking any sooner than necessary. The birthing pains of switching to digital are still being felt, and not all those problems have been solved, so the department’s not likely to push another entirely new technology on the troops until they have to.

That’s all I know about the thing, and most of it is unconfirmed but from people who’ve been reliable in the past and are in position to know. Interesting times. And oh, today is the 10th anniversary of the North Hollywood Shootout.

Harry

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