First responders rely on radios to get the job done

KREM 2's Danamarie McNicholl Carter looks into the problems caused by too much cell traffic during the Freeman shooting last week. And what they use when that goes down.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The high volume of cell phone traffic during the Freeman shooting caused cell networks to overload.  This left first responders to resort to using radios and many students and parents unable to connect.

Because cellular networks can be unreliable, law enforcement continues to use traditional radio communication.

Although radio communication is not the most current technology, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said it is the preferred form of communication.

“A lot of people don't realize that this is not a walkie-talkie, it's a computer,” said Knezovich.

FirstNet is a nationwide cellular network dedicated exclusively to public safety and first responders. It drives innovation and creates an entire system of modernized devices, apps and tools for first responders. 

Idaho recently joined 23 other states participating in FirstNet's deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. 

Knezovich hopes Governor Jay Inslee approves this service for Washington.

“It will help us in those types of major emergencies that we worry about where the cell towers are being over loaded by the civilian side,” Sheriff Knezovich said.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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