New radio system delivers

first_imgCapt. Ron Nelson, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, said although his department is making improvements in its VHF (very high frequency) system, it has no immediate plans to acquire the kind of UHF digital system adopted in Simi Valley. “It’s going to be a growing trend across the nation that people are switching to these UHF frequencies so they can communicate with each other. But it is expensive,” Nelson said. “It’s going to make their communication within their (Simi Valley’s) jurisdiction much easier for them.” As far as radio communications between Simi Valley officer and Ventura County sheriff’s deputies, Nelson doesn’t see any major problem. “It will be different, but when we communicate with each other we do it through our dispatch centers, and that doesn’t change,” he said. “We monitor one another’s frequencies on scanners, so we might have to make some changes there.” The Sheriff’s Department recently upgraded its radio system that serves as an alternate 911 center in Thousand Oaks. It expands radio dispatching capabilities and allows dispatchers to use channels that were previously unavailable at the Thousand Oaks center, which is operated by the Sheriff’s Department. The Thousand Oaks facility is a backup communications center that can be used in emergencies if the Sheriff’s Department has to evacuate the primary 911 center in Ventura. This occurred in March when flooding from the nearby Ventura County Jail forced dispatchers to evacuate their old underground dispatch center there. Riegert said the new Simi Valley system has more than 500 radios citywide, with about half used by the Police Department. It has coverage similar to the old VHF system but is much clearer, with no static and fewer spots in Simi Valley where radios lose communication. It is designed for portable radios to work inside buildings almost anywhere in the valley. “The entire city of Simi Valley – from crossing guards, to bus drivers to public works employees – are connected in an emergency or on a routine day-to-day basis,” he said. “If somebody acts up on a bus, the driver is connected to police. If police need barricades because of a traffic accident, they are connected to the Public Works Department. We’re still only scratching the surface in terms of the capabilities.” eric.leach@dailynews.com (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SIMI VALLEY – Police are getting better coverage, quicker communication with other city employees and more privacy during sensitive investigations as a result of a new $6.4 million radio system that went into operation this summer at the Simi Valley Police Department. The equipment makes the department Ventura County’s first law enforcement agency to convert to the digital ultra-high frequency system other law enforcement agencies across the nation are expected to adopt by 2011. The conversion is partly the result of efforts by police and firefighting agencies nationwide to develop a uniform system, after communications problems developed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles, Kern and Santa Barbara counties have already converted to the new radio system, including the Los Angeles Police Department. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.“In an emergency, such as we had in the Northridge Earthquake, we need the ability to talk to others across agency lines,” said Simi Valley police Lt. Greg Riegert, who helped set up the new equipment for his department. “I helped design our old system in the late 1980s, but the equipment was 15 years old, and it was falling apart. We had detectives and captains who didn’t have radios in their vehicles because we didn’t have replacement parts.” During the Northridge Earthquake, the department had three levels of communication. The first two crashed, Riegert said. “The third got us through the crisis,” he said. Simi Valley police Lt. Sterling Johnson said he and his fellow officers welcome the change. “We like it a lot better because we do not have as many dead zones,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot better system. We have LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff come into our area quite a bit, and we can communicate a lot better with them.” last_img read more