SEARCH Looks at Digital TV Switch's Impact on Public Safety

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Ron Haraseth
The nation's switch to digital TV on June 12, 2009, was a pivotal day for policy and public safety technology in general, according to an article written by SEARCH staff and published in the November 2009 issue of Community Policing Dispatch, the e-newsletter of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), U.S. Department of Justice.

The article was written by Public Safety Technology Specialist Ron Haraseth, who as a member of SEARCH's Public Safety Programs team provides technical assistance to public safety agencies nationwide in automated systems development, planning and integration of justice information systems, and communications interoperability, including assistance provided under COPS Office grant funding. He has more than 37 years of experience in the public safety field.

According to Mr. Haraseth's article, June 12, 2009, was the date all primary over-the-air TV broadcast transmitters ceased transmitting analog signals and moved to new channel assignments broadcasting in a digital format.

The reason this move has such an impact on law enforcement agencies with technology projects is because the Federal Communications Commission reallocated TV channels 63, 64, 68, and 69 for exclusive public safety use. Accordingly, public safety agencies "could now start implementing systems using this new spectrum-a total of 24 MHz of bandwidth, which almost doubles the historical bandwidth assigned to public safety for wide area mobile coverage," the article states.

"We are pleased the COPS Office provided SEARCH staff the opportunity to share expertise regarding the digital TV switch's impact on public safety. We know practitioners will find the article informative and useful," said Mr. Doug Onhaizer, Director of SEARCH Public Safety Programs.

To read the entire article, see Community Policing Dispatch online.