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Wisconsin State Patrol Tests New Path to Radio Interoperability

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2010
2 pages
This report describes the Wisconsin State Patrol's strategy for adopting the Project 25 radio interoperability standards, which pertain to requirements for digital, two-way wireless communications projects, and pitfalls and lessons learned from Wisconsin's experiences are noted.
P25-compliant products allow for a high degree of equipment interoperability and economies of scale. Specifically, P25 products can be upgraded gradually, achieving interoperability and security, encouraging committed manufacturers to provide compliant products, fostering competition, and achieving cost-effective communications. The Wisconsin State Patrol ran a four-site pilot program that created P25 capabilities across the network. For this pilot, the agency tested a P25 channel controller, a new product that converts conventional analog repeaters into P25 repeaters across multiple sites and in support of multiple frequencies. Several companies provided analog repeaters at test sites. Mobile and portable radio companies were also involved in assessing the compatibility of their equipment with the central system. The Wisconsin State Patrol and other participants encountered various glitches related to programming; however, the pilot experience showed the extent of the cooperation needed between the vendor and law enforcement communities in achieving the best and most cost-effective solution. Pitfalls identified in the Wisconsin experience with P25 included the varying terminology, settings, and software provided by the manufacturers. Previously, vendors have interpreted the P25 standards in their own way without any guidance from the law enforcement community. In the Wisconsin pilot experience, both practitioners and vendors gained a better understanding of the issues remaining to be addressed, while identifying ways to improve the implementation of P25-compliant technology. 4 listings for more information

Date Published: April 1, 2010