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FOCUS State-of-Art Interoperability and Data Sharing

other department’s surveillance cameras despite not having the capability in-house. What these departments have are interoperable systems.

When a civilian listens to chatter on a scanner for the fi rst time, they are likely to be confused by 10-codes, Signal- codes and abbreviated speech. One answer for why they are confused is the civilian and law enforcement languages are not interoperable. They are similar, borrowing words from the same English language, but the untrained person doesn’t understand.

The same is true for cell phones, digital radios, and data management systems law enforcement agencies use today. Though all depend on electricity and transmitting in com- puterized “1’s” and “0’s,” the pieces, components, and sys- tems often operate differently. Humans have the advantage of being able to learn a new language, or language appli- cation, but in the case of technology, humans have to iron out differences.

For law enforcement, the Association of Public-Safety Com- munications Offi cials cooperating with other associations,

Raytheon ACU-2000 IP

maintains Project 25, a nationwide and worldwide effort to get equipment makers and manufacturers to adopt standardized computer languages and devices that can easily work together. More often than not, the equipment that Project 25, or P25, gear replaces, is decades old. “We went live because the subscribers—the wardens, the state police and the fi rst responders—as they got on to test the system, pretty much refused to go back [to the legacy radio network],” the State of Maine’s Chief Technology Offi cer Greg McNeal told Urgent Communications magazine in March. “We had a 40-year-old system that we were using, and each agency had their own radio communication system that they were maintaining. If you went to a mountaintop, you would see three or four antennas, each serving different agencies. I think what we’re doing here is what we have always tried to do in the state of Maine, which is consolidate and create enter- prise systems, where appropriate.”

The good news for departments is that while an end- less stream of familiar and start-up companies offer equip- ment that is both rugged enough for police use and meets interoperability standards, the equipment can be expensive. Though not as expensive, necessarily, as brand-new analog, or non-digital equipment.

Dozens of companies are active in providing new interop- erability solutions for law enforcement, but a few of the big- gest dominate the market with the products they offer. Harris Corp. is a global supplier of secured communications systems to law enforcement and civilian organizations. To meet the requirements of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, Harris developed its Voice, Interoperability, Data, Access or “VIDA” Broadband LTE, a 700 MHz private broadband network based on Third Generation Partnership Project cellular technology. This network offers broadband mission-critical communica- tions for fi rst responders by allowing direct connection of Har- ris VIDA-based land mobile radio and the long-term evolution systems into a single multi-band communication network with multiple transmitting points.

Raytheon WAIS 20 LAW and ORDER I July 2015

The NetworkFirst™ Internet-based solution enables contin- uous interoperability among agencies operating on different frequencies and systems; it can be deployed as a standalone in- teroperability solution or as a fully supported application of an existing VIDA network solution. Harris’ P25 Internet protocol system is an Internet-based network that provides secure in- teroperability communications at the network level using P25

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