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Selection and Installation of a Mobile Digital Communications System

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 55 Issue: 5 Dated: (May 1988) Pages: 36,37,40
C W Clark; D Maus
Date Published
3 pages
This article describes the mobile digital communications system purchased by the police department in Long Beach, Calif., focusing on some early problems and offering advice for making a digital communications system operational and effective.
The Long Beach Police Department sees its mobile digital communications system as a great advance in law enforcement technology. The system is secure and private and it frees up radio frequencies for other law enforcement business. Because all messages in the system are sent digitally, they are logged and saved, thus aiding the department's management and investigations. Putting a mobile digital communications system in place requires cooperation among law enforcement managers and staff, vendors, and support services units. The department's needs must be carefully defined and articulated to vendors. Contracting issues must be made clear to all involved. The equipment should be carefully field-tested by patrol officers to ensure that messages can be sent and received throughout the entire jurisdiction. Technical problems with equipment must be solved so that officers in the field can use their terminals effectively. The Long Beach experience in contracting, field testing, and solving technical problems is discussed in detail.