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DHS Logo Billions of Federal dollars are about to be spent on the upgrade and replacement of police and fire radio communications systems under the auspices of post 09/11 interoperability. Will this expenditure accomplish its intended purpose? Communications interoperability is about

human interaction and cannot be achieved by merely buying hardware. Unfortunately, purchasing equipment is much easier than addressing the real issue and it appears that city and county officials are focusing only on the easy part.

Ronald P. Timmons is a recognized authority on interoperable communication for first responders. In 2006 he wrote his thesis on this topic while attending the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The 103 page document provides an in-depth analysis of the real issues surrounding effective communication for critical incident management by first responders. He points out that effective communication is not achieved by merely purchasing equipment. In fact, the best technology needed for effective emergency management communication can be relatively simple and comparatively inexpensive.

So why are we spending billions of dollars on cutting-edge technology that will assuredly be less reliable and less effective than our current radio systems?

Mr. Timmons has done a remarkable job articulating the facts related to first responder communication. Click on the following links to read his work.

Timmons on Interoperability (17 page PDF)

Timmons Thesis on Radio Interoperability (103 page PDF)