on the California coast, San Luis Obispo County is home to more than 270,000 people.
The Sheriff’s Department is the largest and oldest law enforcement agency in
the county, covering an area of more than 3,200 square miles. The department fields
all emergency calls, dispatches law enforcement and EMS services, and collaborates
with agencies such as the California Highway Patrol and seven neighboring
police and fire departments.
Sheriff’s Department sought to improve the capability of its aging dispatch
system, achieve interoperability with other systems, and extend land mobile
radio (LMR) communications to smartphones and devices. With many participants
and cooperating agencies involved in emergency planning and response, seamless
communications among different organizations and teams of first responders often
proved problematic. The large geographic area policed by the department also
presented a unique challenge to reliable communications, covering both flat and
mountainous terrain as well as 100 miles of coastline.
department sought a dispatch system that could connect the disparate networks
and devices in use by multiple teams and first responders. Specifically, the
solution would need to allow for the use of smartphones and interoperability
with LMR systems. The department also anticipated the rollout of future networks,
such as FirstNet, and wanted a solution that could easily work with these systems
in the future.
searching for a year, the county turned to Twisted Pair Solutions and Raytheon to
implement one of the nation’s first strictly IP-based systems that supports the
use of smartphones and tablets for critical communications. The next-generation
solution includes Twisted Pair’s WAVE® Dispatch Communicator to turn the
department’s standards-based PCs into richly featured communications dispatch
consoles, as well as Twisted Pair’s WAVE Mobile Communicator to turn any
Android, Apple iOS or BlackBerry device into a multichannel LMR handset ready
for secure push-to-talk (PTT) communication. The system also implements Raytheon’s
interoperability gateway to enable communications with the county’s existing
analog simulcast radio system and neighboring radio systems.
of the new system took less than two months to complete, from start of
installation to customer sign-off. Participants are now able to use their
smartphones and devices to instantly connect to the county’s radio system and
dispatch center. This extends the range of the system, and allows a large
number of users and teams to communicate both day-to-day and in large-scale,
time-critical scenarios. And because the system does not require the purchase
of new hardware, the county was able to save on costs.
Pair and Raytheon provided us with a system that bridges our existing radio
system to the new capabilities of today’s smartphone and tablet technology,”
said Sheriff Ian Parkinson of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.
“It means a lot to me personally that our department is able to deploy the same
technology to enhance the county’s public safety that protects the
communications for our most sensitive government installations worldwide.”
linking all types of systems, the solution offers first responders secure,
real-time PTT communications regardless of device or network type, geographic
location, or governing agency. This ability has especially been beneficial for improving
the safety of the county’s approximately 40 undercover specialized officers,
who typically have their smartphones at hand but do not always carry radio
handsets. With the new system, these plainclothes officers can use their
smartphones to instantly access the county’s dispatch center, improving
transmission of critical information without requiring them to carry bulky,
visible communications equipment.
system also provides for seamless redundancy, a feature which was tested by a
massive power outage. Soon after the new system went live, the area experienced
a blackout that covered three counties with San Luis Obispo County at the
center. Undersheriff Tim Olivias would normally communicate over the
department’s radio network in such an incident, but he happened to be in a
nearby county when the outage occurred.
the previous system, Olivias would not have been able to connect to the radio
network from outside the county. But with the new system in place, he was able
to easily use his personal smartphone to immediately connect to his
department’s network and participate in the large-scale response. In this way,
the system has improved critical and disaster response for not only the
Sheriff’s Department, but also for the corresponding agencies and departments
across the county.
biggest benefit of WAVE for us is that there is no limit on the types of
devices you can carry and no limits to what you can do with them,” Parkinson
said. “I’m proud to say our officers are fully equipped to use whichever device
is at hand to respond to emergencies. They can truly be anywhere in the world,
on any device over any available network, and still talk to our dispatch
system’s portability gives the department the ability to easily expand to a
second dispatch center for use in the northern part of the county. By not being
locked into a certain product or carrier, the county has the option of bringing
other next-generation devices into its communications infrastructure down the
Benefits of WAVE to the San Luis Obispo
County Sheriff’s Department’s
system’s ability to bridge radio systems with smart devices met all of the
department’s interoperability goals. First responders can now use whichever
device they prefer to communicate, making the most of existing systems while
harnessing the capability of more powerful smart technology. This enables
seamless communications and critical response within the department as well as
simpler collaboration with other agencies in large-scale responses. The ability
to access PTT channels on smartphones greatly enhanced the safety of undercover
officers, who can now connect instantly with the dispatch center using their
Cost savings: The ability to
deliver upgraded critical communications infrastructure while conserving costs
exceeded the expectations of the county.
The department wanted a solution that would expand LMR to smart devices but
not entirely overhaul its existing radio system. Because the solution unites
all device and network types, the county was able to integrate its existing
system and avoid purchasing any expensive new radios, repeaters or equipment.
Portability: The system was
primarily installed at the department’s main dispatch center. But its
portability means the department can easily expand, if it chooses, to
additional dispatch centers for use in other parts of the county. In case of
failure at the primary dispatch site, it now can set up a secondary center
off-site wherever there is an existing Internet connection. And because the
county is not locked into a specific product or carrier, it has the flexibility
to explore and easily adapt to other next-generation capabilities and networks
in the future.
James Mustarde is the director of
marketing at Twisted Pair Solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com.