The Cherokee Indian Police Department (CIPD) has completed a project to convert its current analog radio communications to a digital communication system. The current analog radio system, which includes a mobile radio in each vehicle and a handheld issued to each officer, is not able to meet the demands of law enforcement service.
With the current system, CIPD only has access to one “channel”, which limits the communications capabilities for the officers and supervisors. The current system provides minimal coverage for the Qualla Boundary, and there are areas where there is no coverage at all. Also, the analog system is not capable of reaching communities and officers in Cherokee County and Graham County, which creates numerous problems.
Cherokee Chief of Police Ben Reed stated, “Obviously, the biggest push for digital radios is officer safety and to increase our coverage area. Our limited radio coverage here on the boundary is something we have struggled with for years and years. This project is a huge step for our police department Public safety programs all over the country have upgraded or are in the process of upgrading to digital radio systems because it is far superior to analog. We will utilize this system to its fullest potential to better equip our officers and increase the level of service to our community and law enforcement partners.”
CIPD relates that digital communications will:
- Enhance officer safety by:
- Increasing the coverage area in their jurisdiction
- Allowing dispatch and officers in Cherokee to have direct contact with officers in Cherokee Co. and Graham Co.
- Providing coverage in large structures, such as the Cherokee Central School, businesses, hotels, etc.
- Utilizing an encrypted digital network
- Improves Operational Capabilities:
- Digital communications allows custom “channels” to be set up for special events, emergencies, and daily operations that require secure communications, and can all be used at the same time
- Officers and supervisors can set up “talk groups” so only the specified officers will hear the transmissions
- By having direct radio contact with our officers in Cherokee Co. and Graham Co., we will not have to rely on the county dispatch to relay information and send out calls to service to our officers
- Maximizes the sound quality of the communications