Top 5 stories: Week of Nov. 21-27
Here’s a look at the most popular stories on IWCE
Here’s a look at the most popular stories on IWCE’s Urgent Communications from last week.
- “Los Angeles city, county wrestle over federal grant money earmarked for LA_RICS P25 system – Members of the Los Angeles City Council recently voted unanimously to end the city’s membership in Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS), which has built the first phase of a public-safety LTE network and planned to deploy a P25 land-mobile-radio (LMR) network in the region during the next few years. Without the city as a member of LA-RICS, the county is by far the biggest member of LA-RICS and financially responsible for much of the organization’s budget. The city ending membership in LA-RICS will undermine the efforts to build the P25 system, according to a letter from the county’s board of supervisors addressed to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office. “It is our view that the mayor’s office should be working collaboratively with the authority and the county to address any questions the mayor’s office has with the authority’s ability to spend UASI  grant funds in a timely fashion. The UASI  grant funds have been expended, encumbered, allocated and/or obligated for work related to designing and constructing the LMR system, and most of those funds have already been allocated for third-party project-management staffing, design and environmental work.”
- “City of Los Angeles ends LA-RICS membership, plans to build own LMR system” – Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously last week to opt out of its membership with the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS). Citing cost advantages as their main reasoning for the parting, city councilmembers also announced their plans to deploy a new city-owned land-mobile-radio (LMR) network in the next 13 months. There had been speculation for months that the city would take the route of disassociating from LA-RICS. “It is in the City’s best interest to opt out of LA-RICS, because the City will be able to upgrade its existing system and use existing infrastructure at a lower cost, while still achieving interoperability within the region,” according to a report provided to council members by the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) Sharon Tso and City Administrative Officer (CAO) Miguel Santana.
- “APCO speaker outlines potential PSAP cybersecurity strategies” – Telephony denial of service (TDoS) is just one of the many cyber threats public-safety answering points (PSAPs) face daily, so communications center leaders are charged with ensuring systems, staff and standards are equipped to ease the impact of imminent cyber attacks, Jay English, director of Comm Center and 9111 Services for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, said last week during APCO’s Emerging Technology Forum in Atlanta. “Every time a cyber incident occurs, you’re going to go through that process, you’re going to learn from it, and you’re going to build a better mousetrap and you’re going to be more prepared for the next one,” he shared. “You guys know your operations better than anyone else. Take your intelligence. Take the experience you have to come up with a plan to fight the bad guys, like you do every day.”
- “FCC proposes messaging, location enhancements to Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)” – Authorities would offer the public alerts via wireless devices that are more detailed and geographically relevant under a proposal to revamp the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system that FCC commissioners approved unanimously last month. In the notice of proposed rulemaking, alerts delivered to wireless devices via the WEA system could be as long as 360 characters, instead of the 90-character messages that are supported today. Additionally, the messages will be able to contain embedded phone numbers, URLs for web sites and possibly multimedia to improve ease of use.These proposals and other potential features will be the subject of a public-notice proceeding, according to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. “We want WEA alerts to be much more localized, so messages only reach the actual people who are at risk,” Clyburn said during the meeting, which was webcast. “Otherwise, those who repeatedly get alerts that may not be relevant for them may one day actually ignore alerts that directly impact their health and safety. So we ask whether we should limit WEA alerts, to finer geospatial areas such as geocodes, circles, or polygons.”
- “South Carolina county’s P25 radio system provides seamless communications, interoperability during historic flood” – Charleston County Sheriff’s Department radio communications sustained virtually uninterrupted service due to proper preparation and its P25 radio network in the midst of nearly 300,000 first-responder calls during October’s historic flood, according to a county official. The county’s ASTRO 25 radio network from Motorola Solutions received 275,000 first-responders calls, and only nine calls received a busy signal, Bill Tunick, director of radio and telecom for the county, said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “In these very rural areas at the border, where you wouldn’t really expect to have good radio or cellular coverage, this is where the rescues were taking place. The ability to use your radio reliably in those instances—it saved lives. There’s no question about it,” Tunick said.