Seven US cities in the South Bay area have launched a $ 15 million digital broadcasting system that enables communications between public safety agencies.
The interoperable network in South Bay has approximately 100 square miles of operating area and serves a total population of approximately 560,000 people. Police and fire departments in the seven cities of Torrance, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Gardena, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach respond to nearly 500,000 emergency calls each year.
The new radio communications system operates under joint power licensing agreements between the seven cities, providing security agencies with a unified way to talk to each other in a major emergency, and these agencies often have mutual assistance agreements to ensure that security agencies help each other.
For example, under previous communication systems, police departments trying to coordinate during mutual assistance requests would have to patch different systems together to talk to each other. According to the South Bay website's interoperability network, if police go beyond the department's radio system, they may also lose contact with their dispatch center.
The inability to communicate between jurisdictions hinders coordination and response, which can lead to serious public safety issues that could be fatal.
Ernest Gallo, Executive Director of South Bay's Interoperable Networking System, said the cities of South Bay have jointly created a single system that is more efficient and cost effective than a bunch of independent systems.
The system consists of six stations broadcasting on 12 licensed channels.
"We have a radio system, and now we are basically all on the same infrastructure," Gallo said. "We have talk groups-channels-that allow us to switch back and forth.