Going wireless
Citywide network has police, firefighters sharing information over the airwaves

By Jim Stafford Published: June 4, 2008
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/> What matters, he said, is the improved communication for public safety officers and their willingness to embrace the technology.

Network aims to deliver faster response times
The network has been live for about 18 months, long enough to show that the heavily encrypted network is secure and that it has worked with few glitches, Meier said. It was built using technology provided by Tropos Networks at a cost of about $5 million.

On Tuesday, firefighters, police officers and even city building inspectors demonstrated the capabilities of their in-car and laptop computers to pinpoint vehicles and locations, identify suspects and fill out crucial forms on the fly.

"Our only true limitation to this is our own imagination,” said Fire Capt. Jim Kruta as he demonstrated the computer in the cab of a fire vehicle.

"What citizens are going to see is our response times are going to be lowered.”

Oklahoma City has earned acclaim for creating a technologically advanced network for public safety, Mayor Mick Cornett said.

"There is a national perception that we are on the front edge,” Cornett said. "But you would be fooling yourselves if you don't see this as an evolving technology. You need to be as sure as you can be but things change. What this is going to be like five years from now is anybody's guess.”

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Battalion Chief Glenn Clark looks at a computer screen in the cab of an Oklahoma City fire truck. Each fire and police unit operated by the city is part of the city's new public safety Wi-Fi network. Photo provided by Zach Nash of the city of Oklahoma City

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