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Back to Archives | Back to March 2008 Contents 

Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about — and benefit from — some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.

City of Irvine Takes Delivery of New Communications Vehicle

Renegade Specialty Vehicles announces the delivery of a communications vehicle to the City of Irvine, California. This unit has an overall length of 45 feet and is built on a Freightliner M2 chassis. The cab is integrated into the custom heavy-duty body with three slide-out rooms. Each of the six workstations is equipped with 700/800-MHz radios, VoIP telephones, computers with multiple monitors, 120-VAC power, video switch, and even a DC jack for cellular telephones.

The vehicle is equipped with satellite-based network services to the six PC workstations, eight VoIP phones, and a printer. An automatically deployable satellite, a modem, and satellite networking services were installed. The satellite network provides 3 Mbps of Internet download speed and 1 Mbps upload speed. The modular access router for the vehicle’s network and VoIP phones is configured to work with the satellite network. A wireless access point was mounted externally to provide access for wireless VoIP phones and laptops. The wireless access point allows for future mesh network expansion.

The AMX video switching system is designed to project a multitude of video, audio, and VGA inputs/outputs throughout the interior and exterior of the unit. The vehicle is equipped with an in-motion satellite with three high-definition receivers.

Mounted on a custom-built, heavy-duty bracket for stability is a 60-foot Will-Burt mast with two Pelco high-resolution cameras. Renegade also fabricated the mount for the cameras and included multiple NMO mounts with coaxial routed to the central electronics room for ease of adding repeaters, boosters, or transceivers. The mast is pneumatic, with easy access to controls.

According to David L. Maggard, Irvine chief of police, “The City of Irvine is known for its low crime and commitment to public safety. Renegade customized a one-of-a-kind specialty vehicle that greatly supports both our crime-fighting and emergency response efforts.”

For more information, circle no. 37 on the Reader Service Card, or enter the number at

Phoenix Police Department Protects Super owl XLII Crowds with Firetide Wireless Video Surveillance

The Phoenix Police Department watched over the safety of more than 200,000 spectators, citizens, dignitaries, and U.S. officials who visited downtown Phoenix during the weekend of Super Bowl XLII by using a wireless video surveillance system. The Phoenix Police Department set up a secure wireless network provided by Firetide, Inc., a leading developer of wireless mesh and access networks. The system transports evidence-grade video from cameras in alleys, the middle of the street, and other hard-to-reach places to two operation centers. Even with fewer “boots on the ground,” the police department is able to decrease traffic congestion and reduce the risk of incident escalations.

“Our Firetide wireless video surveillance system considerably increases the Phoenix Police Department’s situational awareness, response time, and ability to protect the public,” said Chris Jensen, a detective in the city’s Drug Enforcement Bureau. “Before we had this system, an incident around the corner could easily escalate into a larger problem before it was even detected. With 360-degree cameras, trained operators are able to see incidents as they occur. Our Firetide video network acts as a force multiplier.”

The department has installed nearly 40 video surveillance cameras in and around downtown Phoenix. Forty Firetide mesh nodes wirelessly connect the cameras to operations centers where state, local, and federal public safety agencies work together. Specially trained agents monitor the real-time video streams and coordinate responses. The police department uses Firetide’s HotPort 6000 mesh nodes together with the company’s HotView Pro management software to control the network.

The Phoenix Police Department will continue to use the equipment, including the mesh nodes and cameras, for investigations and video surveillance of the Phoenix area.

For more information, circle no. 38 on the Reader Service Card, or enter the number at

West Virginia Counties Select Moducom Dispatch Consoles for 9-1-1 Center

The Doddridge/Ritchie Counties 9-1-1 Center in Greenwood, West Virginia, chose Moducom’s UltraCom E-911 and Radio Dispatch Console over five years ago. Deputy Director John Hatfield said that the reliability, adaptability, and configurability of the UltraCom are some of its greatest benefits. He put it very simply when he said, “I love the configurability of their system.” The system is both adaptable and customizable. Hatfield enjoys the ability to customize screen layouts, enabling authorized personnel to make screen and level changes easily. This ease of operation made the opening of the Greenwood 9-1-1 center very smooth, even though the center had no experienced 9-1-1 operators when it went online.

When Deputy Director Hatfield was going through the bidding process, budget was a major factor. Moducom was by far the least expensive of the bid respondents. In addition, because Moducom has always offered free software upgrades for the life of the system, Greenwood received Phase I and Phase II for free. Thus, besides for expansion purposes, in over five years, the center has spent almost nothing on maintenance and upgrades for either 9-1-1 or radio dispatch.

Deputy Director Hatfield also stated that he liked the fact that “everything was integrated.” The UltraCom is a single application system, with enhanced 9-1-1 (E-911), telephone, radio dispatch, mapping, and VoIP all built in. Other manufacturers have to piece together different technology and equipment in an attempt to integrate.

Reliability in the public safety field is key. Deputy Director Hatfield confirmed that the UltraCom is “very reliable.” In fact, in the five years since the Greenwood 9-1-1 center has owned the system, it has never had a hard failure, and Hatfield has had to replace only a few minor parts. Consequently, because the installation has been so successful, the center is considering buying another UltraCom system soon. ■

For more information, circle no. 39 on the Reader Service Card, or enter the number at



From The Police Chief, vol. 75, no. 3, March 2008. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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