Highway Patrol Mistake May Put You At Risk

By: Jennifer Rogers
By: Jennifer Rogers

The Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) may have made a $15 million mistake. That's because the new radio system it's been using hasn't been licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

I'm sitting in an NHP patrol car to show you the radio system in question. It has all the bells and whistles, but very soon NHP may have to give up this technology simply because they didn't follow the rules.

According to the FCC, the NHP is not licensed to use the 150 mega-hertz system.

Here's how it works. The FCC must approve every frequency that is broadcast over the air before you can hear or - in this case - see a signal.

NHP Captain Chris Perry told us his agency had the best intentions - but it seems the paperwork was passed around over the past six years. "A lot of chiefs and directors were responsible for the end result," Perry says.

That end result will affect state troopers like Luis Ayala-Zapata the most. "An officer not having communications it becomes a problem," he says.

The high-tech system automatically connects an officer with dispatch. The old conventional system forced troopers to wait for a line to open, but when emergencies occur - every second is very precious.

"If I can't get out and talk to my dispatch center there is nothing they can do for me," says Ayala-Zapata.

And if the state troopers can't get help, then they can't help you when you may need it most.

While the FCC has been getting tough with unlicensed broadcasters, they are concerned about this case because it involves a public safety agency.

While the matter is investigated by the FCC, the department will be issued a special license in order to keep using the radio system.


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