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Communications Interoperability: Basics for Practitioners

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2006
2 pages
This paper presents a brief snapshot of challenges facing the development of communications interoperability within public safety agencies and possible solutions in overcoming these identified challenges.
Achieving interoperability requires addressing operational, as well as technical obstacles to include common procedures and governance agreements. This paper identifies two significant challenges faced by public safety agencies. The first challenge is that public safety agencies use radios that operate in various frequency bands creating frequency incompatibility. Secondly, the majority of agencies have incompatible equipment which inhibits communications interoperability. Interoperability is the ability of field units and agencies to talk and share data in real-time, when needed and as authorized. This exchange of real-time data is seen as critical to public safety. Even with this identified critical need, interoperability is faced with many challenges. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice’ CommTech Program is assisting agencies in developing solutions to these problems.

Date Published: June 1, 2006