The city will join a growing number of munici- palities involved in
the creation of a regional state-of-the-art radio communications
The Burbank City Council voted unanimously this week to join a
joint powers agency that will develop Interagency Communications
Interoperability System, known as ICIS.
When the system is completed several years from now, police, fire
and public safety personnel will be able to communicate by radio
across city boundaries in a more seamless manner.
As it stands, authorities must shift over to other radio channels
when they travel from one jurisdiction to another during an incident.
“It would be of particular benefit in our city to police,” Burbank
Water and Power Assistant General Manager Greg Simay said. “If there
was a police chase across several cites, rather than having to go
through third-party commu- nications, we could maintain
Police Chief Thomas Hoefel said joint communication is a
significant benefit because in a growing public safety environ- ment
of mutual-aid agreements among cities, police and fire departments
are more likely to be traveling into other jurisdictions.
“We could travel from city to city to city, always being able to
communicate with our folks back in Burbank,” Hoefel said.
Several cities have already become part of the agency that will
develop the system. They include Glendale, Pasadena, Beverly Hills
and Culver City.
Cities in the San Gabriel Valley have also shown interest, said
Simay, who cited the threat of terrorism and natural disasters as
part of what is driving interest in the system.
“The specter of terrorism is regional and demands region-wide
communications,” he said.
Another driving force behind the system is the city’s need to
update its radio commu- nications system. Officials planned to
upgrade regardless of participation in the agency, but the city will
save more than $1 million by joining forces with other
municipalities. Annual costs to the city by participating in ICIS
would range between $49,000 to $134,000, according to a staff report.
The ICIS system would provide city officials with the ability to
use both digital and analogue technology and to maximize radio
signals and radio channels.
Burbank City Manager Mary Alvord will appoint a representative to
the agency board, which is subject to Brown Act public meeting
A key issue is still the $16 million in federal funding needed to
complete the system, which is said to be the brainchild of Steve
Hronek, Glendale’s information technology administrator.
“Unfortunately, none of these things happen overnight,” Hronek
said. “We desperately need money from Congress to make this thing a
Reporter Josh Kleinbaum contributed to this story.