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Sprint and Parsippany Police Department Eliminate Risk of Emergency Communication Interference

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Parsippany police officers will no longer face the risk of interference between their emergency communications network and commercial wireless carriers. After more than two years of planning and coordination, the Parsippany Police Department became the first National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) licensee in New Jersey to complete its part of a nationwide effort to eliminate interference between public safety communications systems and cellular carriers.

Interference to public safety communications networks utilizing radio frequencies in the 800 MHz spectrum band could interrupt critical communications between dispatchers and police officers in the field. In 2004, to combat this interference, the Federal Communications Commission mandated that public safety networks and commercial networks move to separate parts of the 800 MHz band. Sprint Nextel, the nation’s third largest wireless carrier, agreed to coordinate the move of nearly 1,200 public safety licensees across the country to their new 800 MHz channel assignments and to retune its own 800 MHz network to eliminate the interference problem -- all at no cost to taxpayers.

“Clear communications is absolutely essential for the men and women of the Parsippany Police Department to effectively serve our community and our officers now have interference-free capabilities,” said Chief Michael Peckerman, of the Parsippany Police Department. “We are proud to be among the first communities in the country that have successfully completed this important reconfiguration effort.”

The project, which involved reprogramming multiple repeater sites, two transmitters and more than 100 portable and mobile radios, was completed without any service disruption to the Department. Wireless Communications, a wireless vendor based in Sayreville, New Jersey, assisted the Department in the complex process and Concepts to Operations, a communications consultant helped coordinate the project.

“It was a long journey with many details, but in the end the transition went smoothly,” said Patrolman James Masker (Radio Coordinator) “Everyone involved worked together to get it done.”

The department also improved its communications capabilities by ensuring its emergency system is interoperable with the emergency public safety communications systems of Morris County, the State of New Jersey and the relevant federal networks.

“Sprint is committed to working with public safety licensees like the Parsippany Police Department to eliminate the risk of interference in public safety communications,” said Patty Tikkala, vice president of Spectrum Management at Sprint. “Parsippany has been a great partner throughout the process and they are to be commended for their approach. They are proof that this national project is making progress and works successfully when local communities and private enterprise work cooperatively to solve problems.”

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