February 17, 2016 bktech

The Origin of Two-Way Police Radio Communication

In March of 1933, the Bayonne Police Department of Bayonne, New Jersey initiated the first regular two-way police radio communication in patrol cars. The advancement would have an impact on emergency communication that is still felt today.

On April 7, 1928, Detroit Police Department Patrolman Kenneth Cox and engineering student Robert L. Batts developed a system for police to receive calls in their patrol cars. It was the one-way AM mobile-radio system.

Less than five years after this accomplishment, it was topped by radio engineer Frank A. Gunther and a station operator for the Bayonne Police, Lieutenant Vincent J. Doyle.

The one-way AM mobile-radio system allowed the Detroit police to receive calls in their patrol vehicles but they weren’t able to communicate the other way. The Bayonne system was revolutionary in that now those in the patrol cars could communicate back with headquarters as well as other patrol cars. The advancement was done through a combined transmitter and receiver in each patrol car.

Soon the Bayonne system became commonplace throughout the country so that emergency responders could communicate with home base as well as other responders in their department.

The first police units to use wireless communication were the Victoria Police Department in Australia, which began doing so in 1923. However, the equipment used in Victoria was much bigger taking up the entire back seat. The Bayonne Police Department took wireless communication further by becoming the first department to successfully use two-way radios between a fixed location and transceivers that were installed in police cars. This enabled them to respond quicker to emergency situations.

Today technology has advanced to the point where those radios used in 1933 are antique. With the P25 standards, now departments from different areas around the country can communicate so long as they use the same type of equipment. But it all started in the spring of 1933 in New Jersey.

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