Saturday, October 05, 2013

Radio Problems Cited in Capitol Shooting Incident

Media outlets are reporting stories of poor equipment performance and radio system incompatibility during the car chase and shooting that occurred near the White House and US Capitol this past week.

One article describes the older radios that the US Capitol Police are using and why they have not been upgraded:

A second article now states that the US Capitol Police and Secret Service were not able to talk to each other during the incident:

The US Capitol Police have been utilizing analog radios now for many years. In these days of "federal interoperability" and P-25 radios, they had plans in place to upgrade to new radios with digital repeaters sometime soon. Rumors around the DC scanning list  had the new radios being deployed for the presidential inauguration in January, but obviously that did not happen.

As far as the Secret Service and Capitol Police being able to talk to each other, I would bet that they do have some common channels in their radios, but they may not know it. This reminded me of the DHS report on radio training in the agency:

I would also venture that normally they do not need to talk to each other directly. Standard procedure would most likely be that the dispatchers for each agencies would be talking to each other, either via land line or a common channel, and advising field personnel. Having the officers in the field switching around to different radio channels during this chase/shooting would probably not be recommended by most training curriculum.

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