New technology could help communication in a mass shooting
SUNRISE, Fla. (CBS12) —
Many Parkland parents say they are still seething about the radio problems among law enforcement on the day of the school shooting.
But there’s new technology that may fix the tangled lines of communication.
CBS 12 News went to find out how it works
When the Broward Sheriff's Office and multiple police departments responded to Marjory Stoneman High School on Valentine’s Day, they couldn’t coordinate because they were on different frequencies.
A new piece of hardware brings all of them together over the air.
“That communication breakdown is one of the main reasons this thing escalated to the point it escalated to in my opinion,” said Jon Faber, a father.
One of Jon's sons just graduated from Stoneman Douglas, the other will go back in the fall.
Faber is hoping by then, Broward county leaders will have corrected the issue that handicaps deputies in a crisis because they can’t communicate with cops from smaller departments.
“It's a little bit of an archaic communication system,” Faber said.
Three companies in the world make a device that can potentially put everyone responding to an incident in the same radio conversation. One is in Canada, the second is in Idaho, the third is in Sunrise.
“It’s a device you would carry out in the field, the big version is something that’s going into a "comms" trailer or the big truck that you see— the SWAT truck,” explained Shehryar Wahid, Chief Technical Officer of AIS— which makes a computer to link up law enforcement agencies.
It doesn’t put all of the parties on the same frequency, but it sorts through all the frequencies and puts the good guys in the same “talk group."
Cell phones can even communicate with walkie-talkies.
“It is called The Core and it’s actually a line of products, we have The Core, we have the Core Mobile and we have a backpack version of it as well,” Wahid said.
So far, AIS is working with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Department of Defense, and the state of Mississippi. The company plans to approach other agencies in the months ahead.
Wahid says this could be especially useful during hurricanes. “This replaces your comms shack, you’re up in a half an hour as opposed to a week and a half.”
Faber says he hopes the county will look at this option. If they use it, Jon says he'd feel a lot better sending his son back on the first day.
“This is not a Third World country we are living in, we have state-of-the-art technology,” Faber said.
The Broward Sheriff's Office and the county commission say the process of upgrading the communication system is on-going.