Techlines - Commonwealth of Kentucky Technology News

Commonwealth Takes Interoperability Training on the Road

April 2, 2004

If you're one of Kentucky's first responders - the first to arrive on the scene during an emergency - you already know the challenges you face communicating with other public safety responders by radio. Multiple agencies operating on multiple frequencies using various protocols makes effective communication difficult. It's this lack of interoperability between first responders that drove the need to create the Kentucky Wireless Interoperability Executive Committee (KWIEC) in 2003. KWIEC was formed to address communications interoperability, a homeland security issue which is critical to the ability of public safety first responders to communiate with each other by radio.


"It is more than obvious that something is wrong when the only way for police officers from neighboring departments to communicate with one another is to pull their cruisers side by side and roll down their windows."

National Institute of Justice

Now KWIEC is taking interoperability training on the road to introduce Kentucky’s Public Safety Awareness Initiative Program to first responders statewide.

The goals of the program are:

  • To establish educational sessions
    as an outreach strategy for public safety personnel
  • To educate first responders and stakeholders of the importance of communication interoperability
  • To engage local and state leaders regarding communication interoperability that contributes to a secure, seamless communication infrastructure among public safety personnel

The training will cover the importance of coordination and partnerships, wireless technology, issues of funding and spectrum management. The training program has been funded with federal homeland security grant money and the first training sessions will begin in May. The programs will be open to first responders and representatives of government and will be taking place in state facilities across Kentucky.

Spectrum Management: One Example
Public safety radio spectrum refers to the array of channels, like those on a television, available for communications transmissions. These channels are a finite natural resource - they cannot be created or discovered. In many communities, not enough spectrum is available for public safety use in general. Even less is available for interoperability purposes. Scarce spectrum results in congested radio channels and increased interference, limiting the ability of public safety personnel to communicate.

To find out more about the formation of KWIEC, see House Bill 309

To learn about KWIEC's expanding role in statewide interoperability, see House Bill 226 which was passed on March 23, 2004 and has been sent to Governor Fletcher for signage.

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