Got P25? Great, but don’t forget your phone


P25 (a.k.a. APCO-25, or Project 25) refers to a suite of standards for interoperable digital radio communications for public safety agencies. Radios built to the P25 standards let first responders from all over the country converge on a disaster area and talk with each other almost right away.

Terry Betts, Interoperability Program Director for San Francisco Bay Area UASI, tells PoliceOne that in the case of a major catastrophe — one that requires a response from multiple agencies and multiple jurisdictions — many arriving cops, firefighters, and EMTs may be forced to rely on cell phones for at least a little while upon their arrival.

“If you’ve got a P25 system and somebody comes in from someplace else in the United States, it’s going to take a little while to do the programming and authorization of that new radio to be able to talk on it within that area’s system.” During this time, it’ll be critical to be able to use text (SMS) and voice calling.

This, Betts says, it because “black boxes” and other such things require a little time to get set up. “Until permissions and authorizations are set for inbound P25 radios, a lot of people will be using their personal PDAs and cell phones,” he says.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Contact Doug Wyllie

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  2. Communications
  3. Mass Emergency Response

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