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State and Local Interoperability Assistance Support--Interoperable Communications at the 2002 Winter Olympic and Para-Olympic Games

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2002
42 pages
This document describes the level of effort public safety agencies took to plan and implement their radio communication systems in support of the 2002 Winter Olympic and Para-Olympic Games.
More than 2,500 athletes and 1,000 officials from more than 30 nations converged at Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympic and Para-Olympic Games. There were approximately 174,000 daily spectators visiting the 14 venues distributed throughout the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. Public safety agencies started preparation years before the first event took place. In 1998, the Utah State legislature enacted a statute establishing the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command to provide cohesive planning and implementation of public safety operations. The law permitted a unified command of local, State, and Federal public safety agencies involved in Olympic security. Because of this coordinated effort, public safety agencies were prepared and their land mobile radio communications were well implemented. Public safety radio communications was a key element in ensuring the protection of lives and property during the Games. To enhance interoperability between the public safety radio communications systems, the Public Safety Wireless Network Program implemented the Cross-System Interconnect interoperability solution. The concept is based on cross-connecting the agencies’ consoles at strategic locations using base interface module (BIM)-to-BIM circuits in central electronics banks. Each agency-to-agency link consisted of three patches--one for primary use, one for secondary use, and a third as a backup or for emergency situations. Agencies on each of the disparate systems successfully communicated during the Games. There were some lessons learned that would facilitate reliable public safety communications for agencies supporting large operations in the future. One is that a central coordinating committee should be established to help agencies work together in large multi-agency operations. Another is that local, State, and Federal agencies should be proactive in developing agreements and procedures for reliable communications for all public safety agencies. 12 figures, 5 tables, 3 appendices