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Countywide Communications System Enables Capture of Armed Robber

Public Date: 6/30/2010 12:00 AM
Contact: Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer
Phone Number: 248-858-1048

Pontiac, MI, June 30, 2010 - Farmington Hills and Novi Police are crediting Oakland County's 800 megahertz inter-operable communications system for enabling a quick and peaceful outcome to the capture of an alleged armed robber.

"What made this situation unique is the 800 megahertz radio system," said Novi Lieutenant Jerrod Hart. "For the first time in my 19 years, we were able to communicate directly with another department on a critical operation which afforded all involved the benefit of real-time information and contributed to a seamless operation."

The suspect approached an elderly man in his garage near 9 Mile and Haggerty in Farmington Hills. He demanded then grabbed the victim's keys, ran to a nearby vehicle and fled. An eyewitness obtained the suspect's license plate.

That information lead officers to the 20000 block of Woodland Glen in Novi where they spotted the suspect vehicle. Farmington Hills and Novi police set-up a perimeter and arrested the suspect without incident when he returned to his car.

With Oakland County's 800 megahertz interoperable radio system - known as M/A-Com Open Sky radio system, Novi officers communicated directly with Farmington Hills officers for the first time by simply switching to another talk group on their handheld radio sets. This can be duplicated for nearly all police and fire departments in Oakland County.

"It was very exciting that days after installation of the equipment and training of our personnel in the new radio system we were able to communicate with the Novi Police Department during this critical incident," said Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus. "I am thrilled that this interoperability resulted in the apprehension of a dangerous armed subject who had committed a brutal armed robbery of an elderly couple in a subdivision during broad daylight."

Previously, to communicate with each other, Farmington Hills police would radio their dispatch center operators, who contacted Novi police dispatchers, who then relayed the information to their officers.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said the Open Sky radio system is vital to public safety.

"My years in the prosecutor's office taught me how critical relaying accurate information quickly is to ensuring public safety," said Patterson. "That's why I saw the benefits of and approved putting this countywide radio system in place."

Oakland County's 800 megahertz interoperable radio system was first established in 2002; Farmington Hills Police came online within the past few weeks. By the end of 2010, all Oakland County police and fire departments will be covered by the 800 megahertz interoperable radio system, except for Southfield police and fire departments and Orion Township fire department.

For media inquiries about the 800 megahertz interoperable radio system only, please call Media and Communications Officer Bill Mullan at 248-858-1048.