West Vancouver, B.C.—A brief broadcast from West Vancouver Police Headquarters this morning signalled a significant step forward in emergency communications on the North Shore.
Deputy Chief Shane Barber made a radio call at 0727 hours to E-Comm, officially marking the WVPD transition to a new, region wide “next generation” radio system. West Vancouver police have been using the existing E-Comm radio system since 2007 generating approximately 800,000 radio transmissions each year.
Key features of the new network and equipment include: Greater reliability, water immersion resistance, radio monitoring (enabling dispatchers to remotely activate radio microphones for improved responder safety), noise-cancelling technology to allow officers to be heard more clearly in noisy environments, increased coverage, audio clarity and security, GPS tracking, an expanded range of accessories and the ability to add new features through software upgrades in the future.
Deputy Chief Barber says the new system offers important improvements for WVPD members. “Next-generation radios will improve our radio interoperability with partners like Fire and Rescue, BC Ambulance and North Shore Rescue,” Barber says, “Additional radio towers will provide significant improvement in signal strength in areas ranging from Cypress Mountain to underground apartment parkades.”
The replacement of the existing regional radio network is the largest and most complex technology project E-Comm and its emergency-service partners have undertaken since the current radio system was first implemented in 1999. West Vancouver police are one of 32 emergency-service agencies transitioning to the new network in a phased approach that is scheduled through to the end of 2017. Other North Shore agencies that will be moving to the network later this year include West Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services, North Vancouver City Fire Department, District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services and North Vancouver RCMP.
“We’re proud to support West Vancouver police’s transition to the new radio communications system” said E-Comm President and CEO David Guscott. “While the previous network has served the region well for close to 18 years, the new system is more advanced, more rugged and more resilient—enhancing the safety of police officers and the citizens of West Vancouver that they serve and protect.”
The new network is also fully encrypted, providing security for communication among West Vancouver first responders and added protection for personal and private information of people being assisted by emergency services.
The new radio system will be used by police departments and BC Emergency Health Services (BC Ambulance Service) in Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford, in addition to 12 fire departments in Metro Vancouver—including West Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services—and the BC Conservation Service. Approximately 8,000 new radios will be deployed generating more than 130 million transmissions each year. Because this is a planned transition, the annual cost of the new radio network will be about the same as the annual cost of the current network, even with its enhanced features. The new radio system is expected to have an operational lifespan of 15 or more years.
About West Vancouver Police Department
Led by Chief Constable Len Goerke, the West Vancouver Police Department is made up of 79 sworn police officers and 15 civilian support staff working to build on 104 years of service to the community. With a mission of making West Vancouver safe today and safer tomorrow, WVPD members proudly patrol 89 square kilometres of the District of West Vancouver and Xwemelch’stn (Capilano IR#5) and have 11 officers serving on regional integrated policing units.
E-Comm operates the largest multi-jurisdictional, tri-service emergency radio system in the province and is the largest 9-1-1 call centre in Canada, handling approximately 1.36 million emergency calls per year for Metro Vancouver and 24 other regional districts and communities spanning from Vancouver Island to Alberta and from the U.S. border, to north of Prince George. E-Comm also provides call-taking and dispatch services to 35 police agencies—including West Vancouver Police Department—and fire departments in southwest B.C. For more information visit https://ecomm911.ca/