Police Take Steps To Fill Gaps In Radio Coverage
As they communicate through radio calls, police officers in Baltimore County, Md., often experience “dead zones” in which their radios lose signals. In an effort to counter such problems the Baltimore County Police Department has purchased more than $500,000 in new equipment over the past two years. A total of 156 new mobile radios have been acquired that measure about 9 inches long and are primarily installed underneath cruisers’ dashboard.
Each mobile radio cost about $3,900, says Cpl. Michael Hill, who also serves as a spokesman. The mounted mobile radios feature 15 watts to 30 watts of power, while the portable radios carried by officers have 3 watts of power, he says.
County leaders say that when a problem with signals is encountered, it is referred to the FCC. Prior to entering a dead spot, a police officer might notify a police dispatch official about his or her whereabouts, so another officer could be sent to that area if necessary. County officials say the problem occurs most frequently near the perimeters of the coverage areas of the county’s eight radio transmission towers. Police radio signals might also become weak when strong outside radio signals are on frequencies adjacent to public safety frequencies.
In Anne Arundel County, the number of transmission towers was boosted from four to seven, says police spokesman Lt. David D. Waltemeyer Jr.
The county hopes to have a total of 10 transmission towers by the end of 2006, which is likely to increase the coverage rate to 97 percent, Waltemeyer said.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Baltimore Sun Online (06/01/06); Shields, Nick .