Tom Chirhart, program manager at the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, announced Wednesday morning at a press conference at IACP 2011 in Chicago the upcoming completion of the final pilot of the multiband radio initiative.
“No single product existed that communicated across all bands. Today, we have that,” said Chirhart. “We have a single piece of equipment that operates across the primary radio bands; in analog and in digital modes; and comparable in size, weight, and price to other available products. We needed something that’s affordable to first responders, especially in this economy.”
Harlin R. McEwen, IACP Chairman of the Technology and Communications Committee, also was among the speakers at the press conference.
The multiband radio enables police officers, firefighters, and other emergency response and management personnel to use a single mobile radio to communicate with multiple agencies and jurisdictions operating on different radio bands. The multiband radio can replace up to five different radios at a cost comparable to just one of the existing high-end portable radios. Such advancements provide responders with cutting-edge communication capabilities to respond to emergencies.
The final pilot is in Chicago, and it kicked off during the Chicago Marathon. Previous pilots were conducted in Phoenix, Arizona (at a noisy Nascar event); New Orleans, Louisiana (during flooding season); and the Miami-Dade, Florida area (during hurricane season). Feedback and suggestions from users in the emergency management, first responder, and critical infrastructure communities have been incorporated into the radio’s design.
IACP 2011 ends today. The IACP looks forward to seeing you in San Diego at IACP 2012, September 29-October 3.