Nextel co-founder Morgan O’Brien is taking his latest proposal on a road show, appearing in person to lobby local public safety officials, and also on talk radio stations to explain his Cyren Call proposal that advocates 30 MHz more spectrum for public safety agencies. In an interview with a Detroit (Mich.) radio station, O’Brien told the host, “And the part of this proposal that I like best is that while coming up with that spectrum, that airwaves, solves one half of the problem, another half of the problem, which is even more severe, is where do you get the billions of dollars necessary to build what public safety needs? And our proposal is to have the private sector build the facilities to the specifications of public safety, and thereby solve both problems at once. And that is our proposal.” Read the transcript here.
A report by WFTV-TV in Orlando says the Florida Highway Patrols’s radio system is the subject of over 100 complaints by troopers, who say their radio calls are sometimes answered by comm centers hundreds of miles away from their own post. You’ll recall the state designed an 800 MHz trunked radio system, and then awarded Motorola a contract to build and maintain the system. It was originally spec’d for mobile coveage, and it took more money to increase coverage on the system. The state eventually switched operating responsibility for the system to M/A-COM, and the conversion to that company’s gear is continuing. Read the TV story here.
One of the law firms helping public safety agencies with their 800 MHz rebanding efforts has filed papers with the FCC strongly criticizing the agency for dragging its feet on several complaints about the process. The firm of Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker said they pointed out several issues back in Jan. 2006, and then told the FCC, “It is a travesty that the Bureau has been unable to act on this critical issue in more than six months.” They asked the Commisison to act immediately, since the third wave of rebanding has already begun. Download (pdf) the document here.
Motorola is competing hard outside the United States, too. The company has filed a complaint in a German court over the federal government’s awarding of a radio bid to the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS). The court will hear the case later this month. The $70 million radio system would use TETRAPOL technology, and eventually have 10,000 users.
Apparently carrying a police radio in Britain means you’re about to become engaged. The girlfriend of Britain’s Prince William has been given a police radio handset, apparently to enhance her security after she declined offers of a bodyguard detail. Kate Middleton was seen at a recent polo event carrying the handset, which in Britain is termed a “terminal” and takes the form of a cellular phone. British newspapers carried the news as confirmation that Middleton will likely be the Prince’s future wife. Read more here.
Two private consortiums are competing for a $185 million contract to design, build and maintain a secure radio system for Irish public safety agencies. British Telecom, Eircom and 02 Airwave are finalizing their bids for an August 1st submission deadline, pitted against Arqiva and Rivada Networks. You’ll recall that 02 Airwave provided Britain’s national radio system under a $1.36 billion contract. Irish police, fire and EMS agencies are now using a 23 year-old analog radio system.
Another ruling on the usefulness of 911 calls, this time from the California Supreme Court, which ruled that an anonymous 911 call reporting a possibly DUI vehicle is sufficient to justify a law enforcement officer to stop the vehicle. In this case, the caller gave a dispatcher the vehicle’s year and description, and a CHP officer spotted the vehicle in a location suggsting it was the same vehicle. The officer, without observing any swerving or other DUI indications, stopped the vehicle and arrested the driver, whose blood later tested positive for THC, cocaine and opiates. The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that the state’s “reasonable suspicion” standard was met by the 911 caller, and there was potential danger to the public from the reported driver. Download (pdf) the decision here. [previous case]
A handcuffed man dialed 911 from the back of a Maplewood (Minn.) police car complaining that the officer had threatened to beat him up, and now the Washington County attorney has filed charges against the officer in connection with the incident. An unnamed dispatcher fielded the man’s call and sent a sheriff’s deputy to investigate, evntually talking to the man after he was released by the officer. Read the odd story here.
Congratulations to Marge Gordon, who retired from the Chester County (Penn.) Department of Emergency Services 911 Center after 24 years. She was honored by her co-workers and county police officers when she arrived at her last day of work. Read the story here.
A 12 year-old boy collapsed after riding the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster ride at Walt Disney World in Orlando (Fla.), and an employee dialed 911 and reached the Reedy Creek 911 comm center. The dispatcher talked to the employee, who was apparently at a ride control center, and then tried to call a phone closest to the victim. The child later died, and the coroner reported finding heart abnormalities during an autopsy. Listen to the 911 call (mp3) here, or read a news story here.
Today the city of Florence (Ariz.) opened its own public safety comm center, taking over phone calls and radio dispatches from Pinal County. Read more on the conversion process here.
A 24 year-old Atlanta (Geo.) woman was shot and killed by a Floyd County police officer, through a series of circumstances where the woman was reported to have stolen a car. Actually, the car belonged to her partner, who reported the car stolen to convince police to intervene in the situation, which the partner said involved mental health issues. Read the story of how the incident progressed to a deadly conclusion here.
Kudos to Karen Kerr, who retired as a Rowlett (Tex.) dispatcher after 25 years of dispatching service with several agencies, including the last 20 at Rowlett. “It’s going to be nice not to have to go to work anymore but, at the same time. I’m going to miss my co-workers a great deal,” Kerr told a reporter. She has traveling plans. Read the full story here.
The actual operating cost of the Houston (Tex.) Emergency Center (HEC) is masked by farming out budget figures to all five of the participating city departments, according to a KTRH radio report. The center was expected to consolidate all the city’s emergency dispatching and cost $20 million a year to operate. But the single building continues to house separate operations, and costs up to $40 million a year. Read the full store here.
A calm dispatcher talked the parents of a 3 year-old girl through CPR after the child fell into the family’s swimming on a hot day in suburban Sacramento (Calif.). Dispatcher Liz Liddle used a set of EMD cards to give the mother the instructions, who passed them along to the father. Arriving EMS crews found the child conscious, and took her to a hospital, where she was recovering. Watch a news report on the incident here.