Photo Credit: Photography by Chris Miller
Tournament of Roses Parade: LA-RICS Connecting Public Safety

The Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) successfully deployed its 4G LTE Public Safety Broadband Network at the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California in support of public safety personnel from the City of Pasadena and County of L.A.  This year, new communications capabilities and elevated situational awareness devices were added to increase security for parade goers.

LA-RICS operates the nation's largest broadband network dedicated for public safety, offering the latest technology for more than 1,000 responders who protected more than three quarters of a million onlookers spread over a 5.5-mile route.

Communication was enhanced by connecting the LA-RICS Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system to  its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network using the Motorola WAVE Broadband “push to talk” system, allowing users with handheld radios to speak to users with cell phones and vice versa. 

In addition to handheld devices, several remote surveillance cameras streamed live video footage from the parade route to the command post via the broadband system.  This technology allowed commanders to see what was happening in real time and assisted them with making informed decisions that ultimately improved public safety and security.  Radio infrastructure was enhanced by deploying two large communications trailers in the area. 

These platforms along with a 360 degree “Blackhawk” mobile camera unit, a "Strongwatch" mobile camera unit, and an ALPR camera were deployed by law enforcement and fire personnel as well. 

LA-RICS operations teams are actively engaged in planning for system deployment at the LA Marathon as well as the StubHub Center in Carson, which the Los Angeles Chargers will use during the interim until the Inglewood Stadium is complete.

Behind the Scenes: Bill Catron, Senior Information Systems Analyst
In the middle of a crowded and noisy Command Post, Senior Information Systems Analyst Bill Catron sits in his chair and smiles.  Surrounded by large video monitor displays and mountains of sophisticated computer software, he knows that these machines are running smoothly as a result of his efforts. 
Bill’s fascination with science and technology began at age 13, when his Montebello Boy Scout Troop Leaders told stories of their experiences building rockets, airplanes and spacecraft for companies such as TRW, Lockheed and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  “I was amazed at the things these men were able to accomplish,” said Catron, “they were great role models and I never forgot them.”  Bill started his career as an intern at Caltech and his curiosity and willingness to learn was soon rewarded by getting drafted into the nuclear field, building reactor parts in support of the nation’s alternative power initiatives of the 1970’s.

Unfortunately for Catron, the Three Mile Island accident and bad publicity from movies such as “The China Syndrome” shut down the expansion of nuclear power in this country.   After 6 exciting years on the job, Bill was out of work.  Not one to feel sorry for himself, Catron bounced back and found a way to make a livelihood working on computerized numerical control machines.  In 1998, he landed a job with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Data Systems Bureau, and he’s been there ever since. Because of his exceptional skills, LA-RICS contracts with LASD for Bill's services on an "as needed" basis. 
“Bill has been a tremendous asset to the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS),” says Lieutenant Judy Anderson, “It is only with his help that we were able to get hundreds of modems working on our private 4G LTE Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN).  Getting these modems functional is an extremely complex task, involving knowledge of mobile digital computers (MDC), networking and internet security protocol.  In the near future, we expect that thousands of public safety vehicles will be running on the PSBN.  Bill Catron is the key person making that happen for us.”

With two successful children and two grandchildren, Bill takes pride in his accomplishments.  “It’s amazing at how fast the time goes by,” he muses.  Back in the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade Command Post Catron sighs, its 5 in morning, he’s got many hours on the clock and many more to go.  “Oh well,” he notes, “it’s a good thing I like what I do."
Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Construction: LA-RICS Breaks Ground on First Wave of LMR Sites

LA-RICS expects to complete construction on four (4) LMR sites by the beginning of March 2017, three (3) of which are currently under construction. 

An additional seven (7) LMR sites are targeted for completion in May 2017. Construction of new sites will be continuous throughout the deployment of the LMR network, which will consist of over sixty (60) sites when fully deployed. 
The LMR network is capable of supporting interoperable voice radio communications with the LTE system, which continues to provide public safety with data communications for day-to-day operations as well as major events such as the Rose Parade.

LA-RICS will co-locate LMR antennae and microwave dishes on existing towers or monopoles constructed under the LTE program when feasible. 
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