October 26, 2014

Launching public safety communication system

WISCOM moves public safety communications forward. The Wisconsin Interoperable System for Communications will become a statewide radio communications infrastructure.

The system was launched Monday at the Fond du Lac Police Department, whose Deputy Chief Kevin Lemke explains, it will allow emergency responders across jurisdictions to seamlessly communicate with each other during a major disaster or large-scale incident — something Lemke says has been a problem. “We found out that a lot of times when we needed to communicate, we could not communicate. And that’s what’s so exciting about WISCOM. WISCOM is gonna give us that opportunity to communicate, not only locally, but regionally and statewide.”

The use of proprietary equipment has hindered radio communications among public safety agencies in the state. The inability to effectively communicate after the 9-11 attacks convinced agencies nationwide of the need for better communication.

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is the Chairman of the State’s Interoperability Council. “This is something that we can look back and say, for the first time, we addressed an issue that was statewide, that had common interest, common sense of urgency throughout the state.”

Andrew Adams is the President and CEO of E.F. Johnson Technologies — the company that developed WISCOM for the Badger State. He says the system will become the envy of the nation. “Other states have spent up to 10 times the cost of WISCOM on their public safety communication systems and still can’t match the capabilities that WISCOM provides.”

WISCOM was paid for by $19 million in federal grants. The City of Fond du Lac and the counties of Iowa, Sawyer, Taylor, Kewaunee and Douglas are the first to partake in the system for daily radio traffic.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:50

(Thanks to Bob Nelson, KFIZ)