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Local police at different stages in radio frequency switch

Last week the Washington State Patrol transitioned from a wide-band radio frequency to a new digital radio system due to a requirement by the Federal Communications Commission.

The rule change was designed to make more frequencies available for licensing by having police switch over to a narrowband system.

In the Lower Valley, police departments are in different stages of compliance with the new law.

Grandview police switched to a narrowband about a year ago, and have had no problems with the new system at all.

"It's been smooth from my point of view as an officer," said Officer Scott Ames of the Grandview police. "There is no change in quality."

Sunnyside police have the equipment in place but have not yet made the switch. The changeover is expected to take place "very soon."

Mabton police recently ordered the new equipment, and Sgt. Cas Cedillo said his department is looking forward to the change.

"It will allow all local agencies to scan each other's frequencies," he said. "Right now different agencies have different systems."

The result, according to Cedillo, will be quicker interaction between agencies when it's needed.

The deadline for the changeover is Jan. 1. All local police departments have stated they will be switched over by then.

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