With increased emphasis on national security, law enforcement is continually looking for ways to improve our capabilities to better serve our communities.

With increased emphasis on national security, law enforcement is continually looking for ways to improve our capabilities to  better serve our communities. Such improvements could be training, equipment upgrades, proactive planning, re-assigned manpower distribution and many other possibilities.

One of the top priorities in better security and better law enforcement is cooperation among local agencies and interoperability. The key to interoperability is communication and our ability to communicate with these cooperating agencies.

Here in Rolla, we are very fortunate in that we are home to local, county, state and federal law enforcement and emergency service organizations. While this presence is an advantage, it is not an advantage if we cannot communicate with one another. An example of lack of communication occurred back in May of 2011 when a deranged shooter with an AK47 assault rifle led law enforcement on a 30 mile shooting spree.

This scenario developed when the shooter entered upon Fort Leonard Wood, shot at military law enforcement, then fled through St. Robert, entered onto I-44 and then traveled to Rolla. During this event there were many local, county and state agencies involved in the pursuit and attempted apprehension.

One problem was that pursuing officers had to relay critical information concerning the pursuit, via two-way radio, back to their home agencies who then had to rely on telephone our other means to provide this information to communities in the path of this pursuit.

This was due to the fact that each agency is assigned dedicated radio frequencies that do not allow communication between officers and other agencies. Essentially we had a crazed gunman heading toward our community and our Central Communications people were not able to communicate with pursuing officers.

Recognizing this problem, the State of Missouri has proposed and begun implementation of a state wide emergency radio system that will incorporate the use of 72 radio towers strategically placed across Missouri and will consist of a narrow band digitally trunked radio system that will allow statewide communication among emergency service agencies.

As you may or may not know, 2-way radio systems operate through the use of various radio wave frequencies or channels that allow officers to communicate with their departments. There are only so many frequencies to go around and as you can imagine, these frequencies are valuable to their assigned agencies. The new state wide system will need 10 frequencies for each proposed tower or area and is contacting emergency service organizations across the state in hopes of soliciting these needed frequencies for the system.

One year ago, the City of Rolla was asked to relinquish six of our assigned frequencies and in return we would be provided the necessary equipment needed to convert our system to the digitally trunked narrow band system. In addition the State of Missouri has mandated that all radio systems currently in use must be converted to the narrow band system by Dec. 31, 2012.

To convert this equipment over on our own would cost the City of Rolla several thousand dollars. This proposal will allow us to meet that deadline at no cost to the City of Rolla. We have held several meetings over the past couple months with affected agencies and department heads to determine the best route for the city to take in this proposal. We have decided to offer four of our six frequencies and keep the two main Rolla Police frequencies in the event that the new system is unable to provide the level of communication we require.

We are pleased to announce that effective Dec. 26, 2012, the Rolla Police Department and the Missouri S&T Police Department have transferred over to the Missouri Statewide Wireless Interoperability Network (MOSWIN) as mandated, and so far the system provides better clarification, better coverage and the interoperability of all agencies on board.We anticipate those agencies not yet aboard will be working toward achieving that goal in the near future.

This next entry is from the desk of Sgt. Vince Giacolone who is our Law Enforcement Torch Run liaison for Special Olympics. Vince writes: Recently, Special Olympics – Missouri held their 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) Kick-Off where plans are made for the New Year on how to better serve our Special Olympic athletes through several events hosted by law enforcement agencies across Missouri. The Rolla Police Department hosts several events throughout the year to include the Torch Run, T-shirt sales, and other exciting events.

A very important part of the fund raising campaign is t-shirt sales, and right now the Torch Run T-shirts and the new smart-looking caps are available. To order, or to personally see the new 2013 shirts and caps, stop by the Police Department and contact Sgt. Vince Giacolone or SPO Tony Lauth at 308-1213. Short sleeve shirts are $10 each (except XXXL which are $15); and the new caps are at $10 each. Long sleeve shirts are not available this year.

This next entry is from the desk of Det. Derrick Dillon. Derrick writes: I am currently working a fraud where a male subject has been selling advertisement space to local businesses. He has visited several local businesses selling advertisement spaces whereas he promised to place the ads on various restaurant tables, coffee mugs, etc. He would then receive a deposit (sometimes payment in full). He has moved on without fulfilling his orders.

The subject has been identified; however, I believe he has relocated to another state. I believe he was in the area for a short time (around April of 2012). If you believe your business has been a victim of this fraud, please contact Detective Dillon at 573-308-1213. Please have copies of any supporting documents that would aid in this investigation. Thank you. - Det. Dillon.