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Intercom Keeps Police Connected

Wireless systems link emergency squads

Lt. Mike S. Jackson communicates with his team through the DX300ES system.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Reliable, easy-to-deploy intercom communications between command posts is a must for any police department. During a rapidly-developing hostage incident, the department’s bomb squad, negotiation team and tactical team need to be in constant real-time contact with each other.

The Oklahoma City Police Department manages such incidents using separate command post vehicles for the each specialty. To connect them quickly and reliably, the OKCPD uses a Clear-Com DX300ES wireless intercom system.

Capable of connecting up to three BP300 2.4 GHz wireless beltpacks/headsets via the system’s DX300ES base station, the system provides full-duplex, hands-free digital communications with high intelligibility and volume. This system can also be accessed by users wearing 2.4 GHz WH300 all-in-one headsets.

The Clear-Com DX300ES can support four talkers and 15 users in one-channel mode, or three talkers and 15 users in two-channel mode. It can be interfaced to two external channels of radio/intercom signals. Transmission security is ensured by using the system’s combination of digital frequency-hopping, spread signal transmission and 64-bit encryption. Because it operates in the 2.4 GHz band, the DX300ES does not require an FCC license.

“Being able to connect our command posts quickly makes a real difference to managing incident scenes effectively and safely,” said Lt. Mike S. Jackson, the OKCPD’s bomb squad supervisor. “This is a major improvement over the outdated cable intercom that we used to use. It wasted precious minutes laying the cable down and plugging in the intercom units. Today, our teams simply turn on the base station and turn on their headsets—and we’re connected.”

Clear-Com’s DX300ES with beltpack and HS15 headset


There are all kinds of incidents that require the OKCPD to deploy its command vehicles, including a bomb threat, hostage taking or shooting incident. Depending on the incident, the OKCPD might send in the negotiation team first, followed by the tactical team. If a bomb or other weapon threat is called in, the bomb squad might get there first; only to be aided by the other two teams rolling up as the situation reveals itself.

“For us, a typical scenario would have to deal with a barricaded suspect,” said Staff Sergeant Craig McBride of the OKCPD’s crime scene unit.

All three OKCPD teams would be deployed in such an incident, each with its own command post vehicles in place. After the DX300ES base station is powered on, “a member of each team will put on a BP300 wireless beltpack and connect to a shared SWAT-Com network,” McBride said. “This puts all three units in constant contact with each other, and allows for the instantaneous relay of information between the three units.”

As the barricaded suspect incident develops, the SWAT-Com network ensures that all three command posts know what is happening in real-time.

“If the negotiators are on the phone with the suspect and he mentions that the front door is booby-trapped or that he has two rifles and three handguns, they can immediately tell their person on SWAT-Com who can pass this information onto the other two units,” McBride said. “The tactical team might be stationed outside a window and hear the suspect talking on the phone to his girlfriend. They can radio that information back to their command, who in turn can put that out over SWAT-Com.” 

A third scenario: During the incident, the bomb squad may deploy one of its remotely-controlled, camera-equipped robots to search inside the suspect’s building.

“They may find a barricaded door inside the structure,” McBride said. “They can put that information out over SWAT-Com so that the tactical team is aware of the door and can devise a plan to deal with it, if necessary.”

The OKCPD is still a relatively new user of the Clear-Com DX300ES wireless intercom system.

“We started testing it in the last three months of 2014, then purchased and deployed it,” said Lt. Jackson. “So far it has been working very well for us. Our only concern to date is that we have not equipped our command vehicles with external antennas, to maximize the reach of the DX300ES wireless intercom’s radio coverage. As a result, we currently deploy our command vehicles to ensure clear line-of-sight between them.”

This notwithstanding, the Clear-Com DX300ES wireless intercom, “is doing the job that we asked it to do, and then some,” Lt. Jackson said. “We are very happy with how well it is performing.”