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State and Local Law Enforcement Wireless Communications and Interoperability: A Quantitative Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1998
129 pages
Publication Series
Issues related to the ability of police agencies to communicate across jurisdictions were studied by means of a mail survey of all police agencies that employed more than 100 police officers and to a stratified random sample of smaller agencies.
A total of 1,334 agencies responded to the 10-page questionnaire, for a response rate of 48 percent. The questionnaire gathered information on the current and planned telecommunications capabilities of the State and local police agencies and the agencies' knowledge and training level related to telecommunications technologies, information sources, and interoperability policies or issues. It also focused on the nature and extent of agencies' past and current interoperability experience, requirements, and shortfalls. Results confirmed much of what has been generally believed about police use of wireless communications equipment and interoperability. Findings revealed trends related to the shift from analog to digital systems, high VHF to 800 MHz, and increasing use of spectrum for data transmissions related to use of mobile data terminals and laptop computers. Surprises included the extent to which agencies already have channels dedicated for interoperability, their general level of confidence in handling routine local interoperability events, and the relatively modest requests for additional channels. Nonroutine events remain a challenge for most agencies. Finally, willingness to adopt interoperability standards is linked to funding issues. Figures, tables, and appended instrument and additional results

Date Published: January 1, 1998