Naked City

Bigger Than Snacks

It appears that city-led efforts to bring a 900 MHz trunked radio system to Austin is squarely on schedule to be completed and online by early 2003. The project -- which has nearly a dozen partners, including the Austin Police Department and the Travis Co. Sheriff's Office -- will finally make it so that area law enforcement agencies, as well as public service entities like Capitol Metro, will be able to communicate directly with one another.

Given Austin's current, patchwork public safety radio system, the only way individual public safety agencies such as APD and the Austin Fire Department can communicate with each other while on-call is by routing communications back and forth through dispatchers. None too efficient, you might say. Pete Collins, the project's assistant director, said crews are busy building 11 preliminary radio towers across the city -- obviously a major step toward getting the system up and running. "This is real important, what we're doing," he said, "and it's real important that it's getting done. We're not just sitting around and talking about it with the beer-and-peanut crowd."

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