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Chicomm Blog

What Communication Technology Do Police Officers Need?

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray on Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Police departments rely on communication technology to do crucial public safety work. The right equipment functions dependably each day and in many scenarios. There are several communications essentials that give officers the reliable, real-time information they need to do their job responding to incidents and serving their communities. These are the tools a modern, connected police department can’t do without.

Two-way radios

In the field and on duty, two-radio radios keep officers communicating in the most challenging environments. They are designed to be rugged and reliable and to work when cell phones can’t⁠—even during emergencies, power outages, and when cell towers are overloaded. Two-way radios also use push-to-talk technology, which allows for instant connections with individuals and with multiple parties at once.

The right two-way radio system will also integrate with other public safety communications systems, so officers can coordinate with others like EMTs and firefighters. When choosing two-way radios, it’s important to consider how and if they’ll connect with existing networks, the types of environments they’ll be used in, and their physical range. Additionally, a major factor in considering two-way radios is the quality of sound so that communication is crystal clear, even in loud or chaotic situations. 

Paging systems

Paging systems are a great communication tool for connecting officers across the community. While many pagers have been replaced with SMS texting, today’s paging solutions offer benefits over cell phones. Mainly, they transmit messages using very high-frequency radio signals, which means they can reach further, require fewer transmitters, and have less interference than cell phones. Sources say pager messages often can get through in remote areas when cell phone calls and SMS text messages can’t. In addition, pager messages can get through faster⁠—in just a few seconds, as opposed to the minutes, hours, or days SMS text messages can take if networks are congested.

Police body cameras

It’s becoming increasingly common for police officers to wear body cameras in the field. Whether they’re required by state law or a decision a jurisdiction has made independently, body cams can be an integral piece of public safety communication technology. 

Body cameras offer law enforcement officers many benefits, such as minimizing complaints about officer behavior, producing evidence, preventing false accusations, and increasing transparency. They can increase community trust and de-escalate conformations between officers and civilians.

Police body cams have many features to consider. For example, some save on a hard disk, others directly onto the cloud. They can have different triggers that turn them on automatically to record tense situations, such as when an officer draws a weapon. Departments considering body cams should evaluate both legal guidelines and community needs when making a decision. 

Emergency and 911 communications

Finally, a vital tool for officers is a scalable 911 solution, which connects the public with emergency help. A quality 911 system allows emergency response communications to be centralized and streamlined. This way, dispatchers can manage available resources and deploy them accordingly. The system can also be integrated among multiple public safety agencies and can incorporate voice, video, and data, including mapping and GPS. This enables police officers to receive and transmit real-time information from the scene and get crucial data when they’re responding to calls.

Many public safety agencies take advantage of a technology that bolsters 911 communications known as Emergency Call Works. This system uses an all-in-one application to receive 911 calls, manage call locations by map, and dispatch field resources. It can be beneficial for police officers because they can log into the software from anywhere. Long term, this can mean potential savings for public safety agencies because it doesn’t require an investment in additional infrastructure, and problems can be addressed remotely. 

Police communication technology is the essential ingredient to helping law enforcement officers protect the community and stay safe. Also, the right investments can keep your police force strong.

To learn more about the equipment you need for thorough and reliable public safety, including radios, cameras, dispatch center equipment, and more, download our free Public Safety Communications Checklist.

Public Safety Communication Checklist