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L.A. County law enforcement agencies receive $155-million federal grant to improve communication

September 28, 2010 |  2:02 pm

Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies announced the receipt of almost $155 million in federal grant money this week to be used to improve communication among first responders.

A high-speed wireless data network will be set up to allow separate agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Deaprtment, to communicate during emergencies, officials said.

"Right now an LAPD officer and a sheriff's deputy can't do an in-car data-to-data transmission, and with this system they can," said sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker.

More than 80 public safety agencies will be affected. In the past, emergency responders from different agencies have not been able to effectively communicate because they use different radio signals and different data systems. Cellphones and message runners have been unreliable, officials said.

But the new system will offer a singular broadband data system. Compatible radio features for voice transmission are expected to be part of a later phase, officials said.

Among other benefits, the planned system is expected to allow officers to send and receive photos of suspects, and allow paramedics to share vital patient information with emergency room doctors.

Full implementation of the system is still years away, Parker said. It's expected to incorporate multiple points of failure, so that a natural disaster in one part of the county won't take the entire system down.

-- Robert Faturechi