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Police Communications Interoperability Press Release

January 23, 2014

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City of Des Moines, IA, Leads Interoperable Communications with Tait


City of Des Moines, IA, Leads Interoperable Communications with Tait

The City of Des Moines, IA, has formally accepted a critical communications solution from Tait Communications, which gives radio users the freedom to roam throughout the city and access multiple networks without changing radios.

The Metro-Interoperability Communication System (MICS) from Tait combines three different frequency bands, allowing all public safety agencies in the Polk County area to access one centralized system compatible with their existing radio system.

Public safety agencies in the area operate UHF and VHF frequencies, in addition to two proprietary 800 MHz networks. The MICS links these frequencies together for agency interoperability, and allows each agency to retain their investment in their current communications infrastructure.

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Arnold Porath, City of Des Moines Planning and Budgeting Director, says: "The success of the project can be attributed to a collaborative effort between first responders, law enforcement, fire personnel, communications directors, emergency management, locally elected officials, and communications technicians throughout central Iowa, as well as the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division of the Iowa Department of Public Defense."

Tait Communications Americas President, Victor Agnellini, says the City of Des Moines is a leader in interoperability and sets the benchmark for how public safety organizations should develop a communications solution that benefits its users and the community.

"We are proud the City of Des Moines selected Tait to be part of this solution. Many strive to have a solution that is interoperable but for various reasons are not successful. The City should be congratulated for working with multiple vendors to develop a solution that makes life easier and better for its radio users, while also benefiting the city's taxpayers by reusing much of its current equipment."

Project background
Public Safety agencies in the Des Moines area operate on VHF and UHF frequencies, one privately owned 800 MHz trunking system, and one commercial 800 MHz system. Tait Communications' project creates an interoperability network by linking together the FCC-designated interoperable frequencies in the VHF, UHF and 800 MHz bands. This allows each agency to retain their investment in their current communications infrastructure.

The combining of the three different frequency bands allows all public safety agencies in the Polk County area to access one centralized communication system compatible with their existing radio system.

The project utilizes four UHF, four VHF and four 800 MHz interoperability channels to establish four interagency channels for public safety use. Two of these channels will be allocated as fixed-point systems to provide mobile service to the larger area, and another channel will be used as a calling channel.

The other two channels will be incorporated into several portable cross-band repeaters, which will be transported in various police and fire command vehicles for use at location-specific events where multiple agencies are involved but coverage requirements are limited.

This project will greatly increase the voice radio interoperability of police, fire and emergency medical services in the Des Moines MSA, and improve service to the community.