The proposed Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) will vastly improve radio and broadband communication for police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency responders in Los Angeles County.
Safety agencies for 88 cities and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County currently use a patchwork of 40 aging radio networks. That means they can’t readily talk to each other, creating communications delays that waste time and imperil lives.
They are also using the same commercial broadband services that millions of us do for our smart phones and mobile devices. That means public safety agencies are competing for space on bandwidths that often slow down and sometimes crash during times of disasters or emergencies.
LA-RICS is replacing these systems with two state-of-the-art networks dedicated for use only by emergency responders.
One is the Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) consisting of 63 fixed towers and 15 mobile units that use long-term evolution (LTE) technology. This network was completed on October 1, 2015 and is currently undergoing testing. This system will allow police and firefighters to send and receive large amounts of data. It will save time and lives – allowing, for instance, an emergency room doctor to view and direct the efforts of firefighters or paramedics in the field.
The other is the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system that will replace the current patchwork of aging frequencies, creating a seamless web of communication. Construction of the radio network will begin in the Spring of 2016.
For the PSBN, or broadband network, The U.S. Dept. of Commerce is paying for the bulk of the cost with a $117 million grant. LA-RICS, a joint-powers authority, is building the networks, which it will own, operate and maintain. LA-RICS members include the City and County of Los Angeles, 63 independents cities, two school districts and UCLA.