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City now part of ICIS development

Ryan Carter

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


communications throughout.”

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.