McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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April 7, 2013

McAlester Police change radio systems, again

McALESTER — When the McAlester Police Department made the switch-over from analog to digital radio signals last May, McAlester-area residents with conventional analog scanners could no longer listen to most McAlester police radio traffic.

As it turned out, neither could the police. Now, in the debate over analog versus digital radio systems, notch a win for analog, at least where the McAlester Police Department is concerned. Nearly a year after changing from analog to digital radio signals for its in-house radio communications, the MPD is switching again.

“We’re going to back to analog,” said McAlester Police Chief Jim Lyles. City police made the decision to return to analog after months of dealing with problems besetting the new digital system. Some of those problems included officers trying to send a radio transmission over the digital system and no one being able to hear them.

At other times, officers could hear each other on their radios, but the base, meaning the dispatch area at the McAlester Police Department, couldn’t hear the officers. “People were trying to get on; dispatch would not hear them,” Lyles said, referring to the difficulties police dispatchers were having receiving the digital signals from police officers’ patrol cars and hand-held radios.

Now, with the switch back to analog, Lyles said the dispatchers and police should be able to stay in closer contact. They just have familiarize themselves once more with the analog system.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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