Abbotsford Police launch E-Comm radio system

Sixty Abbotsford Police officers who were deployed to assist in the Stanley Cup riot in June placed themselves in greater risk because they did not have an adequate radio system, Chief Bob Rich said Tuesday.

Mayor George Peary performs the ribbon-cutting for the new E-Comm police radio network

Sixty Abbotsford Police officers who were deployed to assist in the Stanley Cup riot in June placed themselves in greater risk because they did not have an adequate radio system, Chief Bob Rich said Tuesday morning.

But thanks to the implementation of a new communication network, that situation will not happen again, Rich said at the official launch of the E-Comm wide-area radio system.

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) began using the $900,000-a-year system  last month, and it is making a “huge difference,” he added.

Rich said there were numerous problems with the previous 14-year-old VHF system, which frequently dropped transmission in certain areas of the city or provided garbled communication between officers, or between officers and dispatch.

“It was not working for the Abbotsford Police Department, and it was not working for the citizens of Abbotsford.”

The new network now provides 97 per cent coverage, he said during the launch event at Thunderbird Square.

Rich recalled an incident when he experienced the inadequacy of the old system. He had just come to Abbotsford after a long stint with the Vancouver Police Department, which has belonged to E-Comm since the late 1990s.

He said he was with officers responding to a shots-fired report. They were calling for back-up when the radio crackled and went dead.

“We were there on our own, and I thought, ‘This is not good.’ “

The challenges again arose during the Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver, when the portable radios carried by APD officers did not link with the system used by officers from other detachments.

“To not be in communication with the people running that situation and tactically moving officers around … is really quite dangerous,” Rich said.

The APD is the first agency outside of Metro Vancouver to join E-Comm and can now link with the 14 other police departments that are on the network, including Langley and Maple Ridge.

Sgt. Casey Vinet said the difference in the old and new system were immediately apparent. He said the clarity is “far superior” and officers no longer have to repeat themselves due to distorted transmission.

The new radios also have an emergency button that, in a situation where the officer cannot verify his or her identity, automatically indicates whose device it is and where the officer is.

Vinet said these differences can save “precious seconds” that are crucial in an emergency.

“This is our lifeline,” he said of the portable radios officers carry.

Tiffany Budgell, an APD communication operator, said the new network’s improved transmission makes her job easier.

“It removes a lot of the stress out of the job both for our officers and our dispatchers because we can understand each other.”

During the launch event, Rich conversed with Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu over E-Comm to demonstrate its clarity.

Also on hand for the event were Mayor George Peary and E-Comm president and CEO David Guscott, who said 200 portable radios have been assigned to Abbotsford officers, and they have already spoken on the new system more than 180,000 times.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen, Vancouver Canucks playing waiting game for new contract

Yale Hockey Academy product files for arbitration with Canucks, hearing set for Oct. 28

“Solitary” Update: Dramatic action scene to be filmed in Agassiz

‘Solitary’ will film a break-in, getaway at Kent Outdoors

Schnitzelz restaurant returns to Abbotsford

Fried meat establishment moves from Aldergrove to Abbotsford

Abbotsford student dies after medical incident in class

Rick Hansen Secondary School offering additional counselling for students who require it

167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

ERT, VPD response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Most Read