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CREST Emergency Radio system


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#21 Rorschach

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 02:56 PM

Just to use the analogy of 9-1-1 on a cell phone... suppose you as an ordinary citizen with a cell phone call 9-1-1 and it doesn't work. You discover that everyone else with the same carrier has the same problem. No one can call 9-1-1. Hey, most of the time someone has a land line and they'll call the ambulance for you. Now lets say you have a contract with a cell carrier to guarantee that 9-1-1 calls will work and go directly to the emergency dispatcher -- but they don't. Is it your problem and you just need to accept it and workaround the problem and assume the risk, or should you be able to force the vendor to fulfill their agreement?

The two tools the police use most are the flashlight and the radio. With computers, you have to take your eyes off the bad guys or the situation, so you need that radio so that the disptcher can do the hands on stuff while your attention is focused. It's essential to just about everything. Calling for emergency help is a rare occurrance, but when it happens it's got to work. An officer may only get a moment to make the call and if it doesn't work it can be life and death sometimes. Those things have to be reliable.

I shudder to think how the police did it with call boxes every few blocks as they did 50-60 years ago. But the nature of police work was much different then and the crime rate was almost nothing.

They might have to begin some kind of routine radio check procedure where every officer is contacted every 5 or 10 minutes. Two man units are expensive and wasteful of an already small resource.

I tend to think that something really bad will have to happen and that someone will have to take legal action. Then and only then will the solution be forced upon the vendor and the City.

#22 G-Man

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 03:53 PM

But the crime rate has declined in that time or at least since the highpoints of the 70s and 80s 8)

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#23 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 08:22 AM

Metchosin to veto police radio repairs
Tiny district footing unfair share of bill, wants to start own system, mayor says
Rob Shaw, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, June 28, 2007
The tiny District of Metchosin is set to throw a big wrench into plans to fix the capital region's beleaguered digital emergency radio system.

Metchosin council has voted not to support changes to the governing structure and cost-sharing of the Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications system -- a move that will grind decision-making at CREST to a halt, and begin a political stalemate.

Mayor John Ranns said he's ready to leave CREST and start his own rural radio system because it provides such poor service to his fire and police crews. He said Metchosin is also footing an unfair share of the bill.


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Font: ****"It's just not reasonable to expect us to support something that will raise our costs for a service we can't use effectively," said Ranns.

The digital system is supposed to link police, fire, military, ambulance and other emergency responders via secure radios. However, it has been plagued by poor building penetration and intermittent coverage -- much of which has been blamed on cost-cutting when it was implemented in 2003 for $17 million.

CREST now needs another $6 million to $10 million in fixes in order to work properly, and the changes to the governance and cost-sharing are seen as key to getting that done.

However, the board of governors needs 100 per cent agreement to spend the money -- a challenging issue given the frequent squabbles among municipalities.

The board is set to change to a two-thirds approval structure at a meeting next Wednesday, but it needs unanimous approval to make the change.

Ranns said he doesn't want to bring CREST down, but he's prepared to wield his veto until he gets a fair deal.

"If it wasn't for the veto there'd be no discussion at all," said Ranns. "It's pretty obvious. If they're not going to address our concerns when we have a veto, they're not going to address our concerns when we don't ... we'll just get completely ignored."

Metchosin council voted last Monday to tell its CREST representative, Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila, to vote against the changes at the upcoming meeting.

So far, Metchosin is the only council to try to scuttle CREST, although various municipalities and emergency crews have complained about unreliable service.

Victoria police now patrol only in pairs because the force says being alone with an unreliable radio is unsafe.

Ranns said he believes CREST's cost-sharing formula is also unfair, because it more heavily weighs a region's size than its population.

Metchosin is the second-largest municipality in the region by area, but has just 5,000 residents.

It pays $35,000 a year for CREST, but Ranns said the district can create a reliable system for $50,000 a year and not face a future increase due to population growth.

"We're willing to offer [CREST] a solution: Don't waste your time with us. We'll look after ourselves."

CREST chairman Hy Freedman said CREST has prepared a new presentation it wants to show Ranns before the vote on Wednesday.

"We're concerned they don't have all the information to make a decision," said Freedman. "I think we're just going to have to continue to try and convince Metchosin that if they want to see improvements in Metchosin, they have to vote for it."

Freedman's remarks drew an angry response from Ranns, who said he told CREST about the problems a year ago yet heard nothing, and also listened to CREST's council presentation last week.

"If we were misinformed, why the hell didn't he inform us then? This whole CREST thing, you know, is just ..." he said trailing off and sighing. "Well, I'm not going to say it."

mailto:rfshaw@tc.canwest.com
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#24 gumgum

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 08:27 AM

London paid dearly for problems similar to Victoria's
Times Colonist
Published: Sunday, July 15, 2007


It may be of some consolation for Victoria police wrestling with the balky CREST communication system to know they are not alone.

The Airwave system serving the London metropolitan police in Britain cost the Home Office the equivalent of $6.3 billion Cdn when it was installed in 2002 in a rush to meet the needs of the Commonwealth Games. But during the attacks on the London subway system, emergency services lost contact with each other and doctors who are supposed to be linked to the system were unsure which hospitals to send casualties to.

A recent review of the way the terrorist attack was handled suggests the Airwave system is erratic in certain buildings because of metal in the superstructure. Researchers have been told that the radios won't even work in some police stations and some retail outlets.

The member of the Metropolitan Police Authority who chaired the investigation, Richard Barnes, is quoted as declaring that asking officers to go into areas where they are beyond contact "is not good enough" and that personal-style radios could be used while problems with the Airwave system are ironed out. Current estimates are that it will be 2009 before London's emergency services are fully equipped with Airwave and that coverage of the rest of the United Kingdom will take even longer.

Maurice Chazottes,

Saanich.


© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007



#25 gumgum

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 08:30 AM

Cutting corners won't save money
Times Colonist
Published: Sunday, July 15, 2007


As a retired electronics repair business owner, I have some insight into the CREST emergency services radio transmission and reception problems and how the mess occurred.

There is no device or system that cannot be made cheaper by cutting corners or leaving out expensive components. In the repair trade we call this " building something to sell, not to work."

Regardless of whether the errors made were deliberate or not, can we afford not to repair them?

Andrew Reeve,

Victoria.



#26 Rorschach

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 06:11 PM

WIthin the last six months or so the Met has switched to push to talk cell phones instead of walkie-talkies. I was in London a few months ago and the radios are gone and they have a cell phone attached to their left shoulder lapels.

As far as CREST goes, I think I posted the cheapest and most effective fix: clone a UHF frequency into the walkie-talkies and install UHF -> VHF portable repeaters in every patrol car. That way the officer's portable is using a frequency that penetrates buildings better and just has to make it as far as the nearest parked patrol car. The patrol car receives the UHF signal and instantaneously re-broadcasts it on the VHF frequency the rest of the CREST system uses. That's going to cover everything without replacing everything or reprogramming the base system software.

#27 aastra

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 06:26 PM

Radio failure strands cop facing man with gun
Louise Dickson, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, September 19, 2008

Victoria's problem-plagued CREST emergency radio system failed again yesterday, forcing a plainclothes officer facing a gun-wielding man to use his cellphone to call for backup.

The incident took place about 2:40 p.m. at the York Hotel on Johnson Street, which has been converted to low-income housing.

The officer, who is a member of the Vancouver Island Community Outreach Team, was helping residents who need more support services and other housing options. He was standing with a group in the hallway when the man came out of the upstairs room, pointing a gun and yelling, "Get the hell out of here."

The officer tried to call for assistance but the CREST radio system failed, said police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton.

"The officer had to resort to his cellphone for a 9-1-1 call asking for backup," he said.


Full story at:
http://www.canada.co...f2-d9e42f2a7e84

#28 yodsaker

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 12:11 PM

Somebody is making a nice buck off this dead turkey.
The original contractor was incompetent so they reward him with another truckload of taxpayers' money. WTF?
Fools and poltroons, all of them.

#29 bcradio

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 10:12 AM

The issue lies with the politicians (Members of the CREST board) knocking back the initial specifications to lower the initial cost.

These new improvements are really just installing the equipment that was originally proposed. Phase 1 of the improvements has been done, phase 2 is still ongoing.

Somebody is making a nice buck off this dead turkey.
The original contractor was incompetent so they reward him with another truckload of taxpayers' money. WTF?
Fools and poltroons, all of them.



#30 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 09:02 PM

Somebody is making a nice buck off this dead turkey.
The original contractor was incompetent so they reward him with another truckload of taxpayers' money. WTF?
Fools and poltroons, all of them.


I can't recall the last time I had a drop-out on my cellphone. Surely there is a system that works on cell technology that doesn't keep costing millions every year...

CREST TO SEE ONGOING UPGRADES

Sep 16, 2009

RESULTS OF INDEPENDENT TESTING DONE TO CAPITAL REGION'S EMERGENCY RADIO COMMUNICATION SYSTEM --CREST -- INDICATE IMPROVEMENT, BUT IT WILL REQUIRE FURTHER UPGRADES.

TOM GRAY, VICE PRESIDENT OF RCC, THE FIRM CARRYING OUT THE TESTING SAYS THERE ARE IMPROVEMENTS PARTICULARILY IN DOWNTOWN VICTORIA.

"WE CONFIRMED THAT THERE WAS SOME SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS THERE."

FURTHER UPGRADES WILL BE MADE TO THE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION SYSTEM HOWEVER. GRAY COMPARED THE ONGOING WORK TO UPDATING A PERSONAL COMPUTER.

GORD HORTH, GENERAL MANAGER OF CREST SAYS LEARNING TO USE THE SYSTEM IN A BETTER WAY AND TRAINING FOR POLICE AND FIRE SERVICES WILL DOMINATE THEIR AGENDA FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR.

"THE BOARD HAS GIVEN DIRECTION THAT WE WILL CONTINUOUSLY PROVIDE UPGRADES TO THE SYSTEM TO CONTINUALLY RAISE THE BAR. SO, NEXT YEAR WE EXPECT TO DO FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN AREAS WHERE IT MERITS IT."

CERTAIN CONTRACTUAL MILESTONES MUST BE REACHED BEFORE THE HOLDBACK MONEY IS RELEASED. HORTH SAYS THESE INCLUDE COVERAGE MAPS FROM RCC, THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION AND MAKING SURE THE SYSTEM IS WORKING AS BEST IT CAN.

"WE'RE IN THAT PROCESS. WE'RE GETTING CLOSE, BUT IT'S NOT COMPLETE YET. SO, FURTHER MONIES HAVEN'T BEEN FORTHCOMING YET. PROBABLY LOOKING TO BRING THAT INFORMATION BACK TO THE BOARD IN OCTOBER FOR DIRECTION TO MOVE FORWARD AND PAY."

THE HOLDBACK MONEY IS APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THE 10.6 MILLION DOLLAR COST OF THE NECESSARY UPGRADES.

AS FAR AS ONGOING UPGRADES, HORTH SAYS FURTHER INVESTMENT INTO INFRASTRUCTURE COULD STRETCH OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

PART OF THE COMPLETED UPGRADES INCLUDED A NEW TRANSMISSION TOWER IN THE DOWNTOWN CORE, 16 NEW RECEIVERS ADDED THROUGHOUT THE CAPITAL REGION AND IN-VEHICLE REPEATERS INSTALLED IN OVER 50 FIRE DEPARTMNET VEHICLES.

- LIZ MCARTHUR


http://cfax1070.com/...hp?newsId=10556

#31 Holden West

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 10:01 PM

^Jeez, how many years have we been reading this same story?
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#32 Bingo

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 08:11 PM

Full story at:
http://www.canada.co...f2-d9e42f2a7e84

The city could have repaired the Blue Bridge for all the money wasted on this still wonky system. The cops have to use their cell phones as backup, which is why a cell-phone ban while driving law, will never have any credibility

#33 Bingo

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 03:44 PM

...spend $60,000 to backup the unreliable Crest system on day one. The cavities continue!

#34 North Shore

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:23 PM

. The cops have to use their cell phones as backup, which is why a cell-phone ban while driving law, will never have any credibility

:D There was a good letter in the T/C about this today - something about the cell phone ban while driving, and Twitter updates being postd by the police on the progress of the torch relay.
Say, what's that mountain goat doing up here in the mist?

#35 mat

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 11:38 PM

When the Crest system was first envisioned, facebook, twitter et al were futuristic concepts. Now they are reality.

Emergency services need access to redundant levels of communications - radio fails you go to cell, that fails you go to landline, that fails...yell on the street and use whistles.

Information dissemination is a different matter. There are twitter API's being developed for businesses to 'tweetpeak' (a photo) of shoplifters from security cams. There are online social media systems that can track events over a geographical region, down to city blocks, and add in real time photos, video - designed originally as marketing tools, but applicable to law enforcement.

Crest should have been designed as a multi user data relay system, with a flexible server base to incorporate and filter all sorts of streams.

Instead it seems they are still trying to sort out simple two way radio.

#36 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 07:42 AM

What was the $60k solution they brought in for the Torch Relay? I'm guesssing they just rented a whole bunch of iDen push-to-talk cell-phones for one day?

http://en.wikipedia....nhanced_Network

Telus has this system available, it combines the features of a cell-phone and a trunked radio system. It used to be marketed as MIKE, not sure if it is still. I had one for a few years.

#37 Bingo

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:55 PM

According to todays TC, the Victoria police are considering dropping out of the problem-plagued Crest radio system. Apparently if Crest can't resolve the problem, the police department will fun its own system, which could cost $500,000 per year.

The cost is cited as the prime reason the Victoria police pulled out of the Regional Crime Unit

The Victoria Police have asked Victoria and Esquimalt for a $2.35-million increase to next years budget, or a 2% tax increase. Last year Victoria Police asked for a 9%, 3-million increase along with the associated tax increases.

#38 LJ

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 07:23 PM

:D There was a good letter in the T/C about this today - something about the cell phone ban while driving, and Twitter updates being postd by the police on the progress of the torch relay.


All emergency service personnel as well as taxi drivers (I believe) are exempt from the ban.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#39 yodsaker

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 07:43 PM

Hey, its a good gig for some people:
Give us millions to provide a walkie-talkie service. (Remember them? They were the bee's knees in the Korean War.)
Oh, sorry, buildings, and trees!, got in the way. Didn't realize this isn't the prairies.
Never mind, give us more millions to fix it.
Well, you wouldn't really understand , its technical %&*$@^!>:**&^%....
Just a few more million and she'll be right. Any day, folks....
Now the latest wheeze is about training.
WTF? 6-year olds can operate cell phones just fine. This is as bad as the Oak Bay cops needing bicycle training before mounting their 2-wheelers sans training wheels.
Meanwhile people in Tehran can give us actualities in real time...

#40 martini

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 06:45 PM

Just wanted to bump this up in light of information released today:


REPORT SUPPORTS VIC PD'S CLAIM CREST SYSTEM NOT A GOOD FIT
http://www.cfax1070....hp?newsId=12798

DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON GRANT HAMILTON SAYS IT WILL CALL FOR ACTION

"we are pleased that the independent third party review has corroborated and supported what we had been saying for the last 5 years, is the design of this current system will never meet our needs"

HAMILTON ALSO CAST SOME DOUBT ON A RECENT SUGGESTION FROM THE CHAIR OF CREST THAT A PURCHASE OF A SYSTEM USED AT THE VANCOUVER OLYMPICS MAY BE THE ANSWER



VICTORIA CITY COUNCIL MOVING TO REPLACE POLICE RADIOS
http://www.cfax1070....hp?newsId=12805

MAYOR DEAN FORTIN WAS ASKED IF TAXPAYERS SHOULD BE ANGRY...

"I think they have a right to ask questions"

IN THE SAME BREATH, FORTIN DECLINED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW THE REGION ENDED UP WITH RADIOS THAT DON'T WORK...

"We're looking back in 20-20...There's a group of people that put it together that are no longer even involved in civic politics, or, in all of those sort of issues. So we're not looking around to cast blame on someone. Our goal right now is to get it fixed. That's the important goal"


CREST site:
http://www.crest.ca/

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