APCO hosts 65th annual conference in Minneapolis The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) hosted its 65th annual conference and exhibition Aug. 9-13 in Minneapolis. The show was packed with activities, exhibits and informative educational sessions.
About 256 companies exhibited at this year’s conference. As always, the exhibits kicked off with a parade in front of the convention center on Tuesday morning, Aug. 10.
John Walsh, the victims’ rights advocate and host of “The New America’s Most Wanted,” delivered the keynote address. Walsh made complimentary comments about 9-1-1 dispatchers and spoke about his efforts in support of the Victims’ Rights Amendment.
Educational sessions ran for four days, Monday through Thursday, with more than 90 speakers presenting information on management, technology, information systems, telecom-municator training and 9-1-1 practices. John Powell of the University of California at Berkeley police department moderated the session on Y2K preparedness. Representatives from Motorola, the California Highway patrol and the St. Paul, MN, police department described preparation and contingency plans. Two “When Terror Strikes” sessions were presented, one covering the Oklahoma City tornadoes and the other analyzing the Columbine, CO, High School incident.
D’Wana Terry, chief of the FCC Public Safety and Private Wireless Division, moderated a session called, “What Every Licensee Should Know About the FCC.” The session covered general licensing and technical analysis processes. The audience had several questions about the antenna structure registration and the letters that the FCC had recently mailed, warning operators and owners to register their towers.
The APCO officers were sworn in on Aug. 12. Thera Bradshaw won the election for second vice president. Bradshaw is the executive director of Regional 9-1-1 Emergency Services in Vancouver, WA. Jack Keating passed the APCO gavel to Joe Hanna, the 66th APCO president. Hanna is captain of the Communications Division of the city of Richardson, TX, police department. Lyle Gallagher, director of communications for the state of North Dakota, succeeds Hanna as president-elect. Glen Nash, senior telecommunications engineer for the California Department of General Services, took the position of first vice president.
APCO recognizes public safety communicators APCO saluted communicators in public safety at the conference with its annual awards program. Following are some of the award winners:
Frank L. Sparks, communications technician for the Delaware State Police won the Technician of the Year Award.
The Telecommunicat-or of the Year award went to Tracy Vail, a telecom-municator and lead call taker for the Illinois State Police, District 14.
Sue Fallon, shift supervisor for the Minnesota Emergency Communications Center, earned the International Public Safety Communications Line Supervisor of the Year award.
The International Public Safety Communications Center Director of the Year was awarded to Barry M. Mogil, director of Pinellas County, FL, Emergency Communications/9-1-1.
APCO quotes Dominick Arcuri, vice president of engineering, Ericsson Private Radio Systems:”Two-way radio will continue to grow. Public safety has needs that are met by two-way radio. There will be spillovers into two-way radio as advances are made in other technologies.”
Dan Connors, acting legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Susan Ness, on the 700MHz band: “The FCC doesn’t want to pick a standard [for 700MHz]. We are relying on the NCC and an open process to recommend a standard to the FCC. We don’t plan to second-guess.”
Joe Galleli, Simoco International, on TETRA: “With the globalization of type approvals, we think that once we decide to provide the data, which may come from several different sources … the data will go directly to the commission and we can enter the type acceptance process, and it could be over in 60 days. … Probably before year’s end, we’ll have type-accepted equipment.”
Thera Bradshaw, successful candidate for second vice president: “I want to focus APCO’s resources wisely, empower individuals, form partnerships with those who can help us, market APCO worldwide and lead by example.”
Craig Jorgenson on funding for public safety: “Traditionally, funding for public safety has been a result of direct appropriations … In the late ’70s those funding sources disappeared. We need to find a new way to fund public safety systems, [by] asking the government, privatization, bonding, borrowing or lease purchasing. One of the basic problems is you have to make that decision early on.”
Gary Oldham, Lucent Public Safety Systems, on GPS uses in public safety: “If I dial 9-1-1 from my cellphone in this room, I wouldn’t be able to get a signal for help, according to the use of GPS.”
Now a Securicor subsidiary, Intek Global trims payroll by 28 In August, Intek Global, a New York-based company with its largest operating facilities in Kansas City, MO, and Bath, United Kingdom, reduced its U.S. workforce by about 22 positions in Kansas City and about six in the field. The layoff mostly bypassed middle managers and executives and left the RoameR One technical services and customer support almost untouched. The pink slips were handed out shortly after the majority shareholder, Surrey, UK-based Securicor, bought out minority shareholders.
“Staff reductions in the Kansas City office are essential to the continued implementation of the ongoing Intek Millennium Plan which emphasizes focus, efficiency and profitability. . Intek Global’s business plan anticipates aggressive growth of its systems sales business and calls for a transition from a product sales business to a systems and airtime sales business,” a statement issued from the New York headquarters reads.
George F. Naspo, the company’s executive vice president, heads the Kansas City operations. He said that Intek Global has restructured its products, systems and services business units under one umbrella, with airtime sales under another. He said that most of the jobs that were eliminated involved manufacturing and were in areas where there were redundancies among divisions.
“You can look at us as having products, systems, services and airtime businesses. Too often we’re referred to as ‘product and airtime’ only. Our systems and services will include 220MHz business and land mobile radio business, all under one umbrella. It’s time that the company starts looking at each business segment as part of our full product line rather than each segment as a separate business,” Naspo said.
“As for airtime, we’re marketing in four major markets, working with the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative in others and setting up some indirect, third-party resellers who want 220MHz systems throughout the country,” he said.
It was in December 1996 when Intek Global achieved a form approaching what it is today. At the time, three companies, Roamer One, Midland USA and Securicor Radiocoms, were brought together under the corporate entity then known as Intek Diversified. Under a previous name, Intek Global first was incorporated in 1969, and at times it has been involved in iron ore exploration, test equipment manufacturing, real estate development and injection-molded plastics. At one time its name was Intercontinental Diamond, reflecting its mining business.
In August of this year, Securicor used a tender offer to purchase the rest of the shares. Intek Global has become a Securicor subsidiary, giving Securicor direct control, where previously it had to exercise control indirectly through its majority vote on Intek Global’s board of directors. The name of the company will change to Securicor Wireless. A source close to the company said that Securicor would seek a long-term strategic partner as it continues to expand its North American business.
Intek Global sells products and services under the Intek Global, Data Express, Midland and RoameR One brand names.
Zetron acquires Helper Intruments Redmond, WA-based Zetron has acquired the majority of Helper Instruments’ assets, including the rights to the company’s name and its products’ brand names.
Helper Instruments, Indialantic, FL, manufactures test equipment used by the wireless industry. Major products that were acquired include the Sinadder automatic distortion meter for measuring SINAD sensitivity; the Matchbox series for measuring and tuning antennas; the Lineman for troubleshooting tone remote systems; and the RF Millivolter for measuring RF circuit performance.
Helper Instruments will continue to sell under its established brand name as a division of Zetron. The products will be manufactured by Zetron’s Redmond facility. Mail correspondence to Helper Instruments at 12034 134th Court NE, suite 100, Redmond, WA 98052, or call 800-324-9308 for technical support and sales information. (www.zetron.com)
ALJ dismisses all WTB actions against James A. Kay Jr. With scathing criticism of FCC prosecutorial and administrative practices, on Sept. 7 FCC Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Joseph Chachkin wiped out five years of Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) pursuit of California system operator, James A. Kay Jr.
Chachkin held that Kay is qualifed to remain a licensee, ordered the WTB to lift the five-year freeze on processing Kay’s licensing applications and specifically directed the WTB to coordinate with Kay to update databases relating to his unconstructed or discontinued base stations.
Kay, an operator of more than 150 Part 90 licenses in Los Angeles, became the target of WTB inquiry into his business practices and character qualifications to be a licensee in 1994. The bureau sought to remove licenses from Kay for failure to provide information, violation of construction and operations requirements, failure to construct stations in a timely manner, improper system loading, abuse of administrative process, malicious interference, unauthorized transfer of control, and misrepresentation and lack of candor before the commission.
In his decision, Chachkin said there are limits to information that a bureau may request in the public interest. He characterized WTB efforts as “a fishing expedition.” Over the years, Kay was required to produce about 36,000 documents in his defense. The judge found insufficient proof to support inappropriate construction or system loading, and he questioned the credibility of witnesses against Kay relating to abuse of process. The WTB had already dismissed the malicious interference allegations against Kay. Chachkin’s strongest comment related to WTB concealment of information from the ALJ office regarding the improper transfer of control charges. “This judge has never seen prosecutorial misconduct of this magnitude in the 20 years he has presided over commission cases,” Chachkin wrote.
MRT regulatory consultant Robert H. Schwaninger Jr. commented, “This is a landmark case on WTB rights and responsibiities in enforcement.”
Calhoun County, AL, officials cut a ribbon July 15 to celebrate their new Motorola Astro radio system. “The final product exceeds our expectations in coverage and audio quality,” Mike Burney, Calhoun County EMA communications manager, said. . Larimer County, CO, will use a Motorola Astro Smartzone system as a shared network among its cities and agencies. “We’ll operate at peak-level efficiency, but we won’t have to invest our own resources to manage and maintain the system,” said Capt. John Walker of the Loveland Police Department …
“We have a very limited, one-channel, one-transmit site system, and the size and volume have just increased beyond the system’s capacity,” said Maj. Glendon Carlton of the Lexington, KY, Fire Department, explaining why the agency chose to use the University of Kentucky’s existing six-channel 800MHz Ericsson EDACS trunked radio system. The university will use the fire department’s VHF site as a backup. . Lake County, IL, has awarded a $6-million contract to Ericsson for a four-site, eight-channel 800MHz EDACS system. “We have a lot of congestion on our current radio system and are plagued with interference from other frequency users,” said Garry Gorr, Lake County communications director. “With the implementation of EDACS, we are looking forward to a public safety system that provides portable radio coverage countywide.”
The House and Senate have passed bills (S800 and HR438) to make 9-1-1 the universal number for all emergency calls in the United States. The Senate voted on August 6; the House bill passed in February. . Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Metuchen, NJ, has appointed Navair, Mississauga, Ontar-io, as its distributor for Canada. (www.navair.ca).Atlanta-based Dataradio has completed a private wireless computing network for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, Visalia, CA. “Private wireless networks provide distinct advantages over public wireless services, giving the user control over the network and maximum bandwidth,” said Philip Abbate, Data-radio’s western territory manager. Meanwhile, a Dataradio subsidiary, Johnson Data Telemetry, Burnsville, MN, has received FCC approval for 25kHz operation at VHF and UHF for its JSLM telemetry radio. (www.johnsondata.com)
Motorola has a $51-million contract to supply the city of Philadelphia with an 800MHz Astro radio system. “This system will enable police officers and firefighters, as well as other city departments, to communicate with each other at any time and virtually anywhere in the city,” said Mayor Ed Rendell. … Digital Voice Systems, Boston, has licensed advanced multiband excitation (AMBE) voice compression software to ComSpace, Irving, TX, for use in its land mobile radio systems.