New FCC Rules to Allow Railroad Officers to Use Interoperability Channels
Tuesday, September 01, 2015 | Comments

The FCC proposed to amend its rules to permit railroad police officers to use public-safety interoperability and mutual-aid channels to communicate with public-safety entities already authorized to use those band segments.

“We believe that allowing railroad police officers to use these channels will promote interoperability and facilitate improved emergency response in railroad-related emergencies and eliminate unnecessary regulatory barriers to use of these channels,” said the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

Specifically, the NPRM proposed to permit railroad police officers who are empowered to carry out law enforcement functions to use public-safety interoperability and mutual-aid channels in the VHF, UHF, 700 MHz narrowband and 800 MHz National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) bands. In addition, the commission proposed to publish a list in its rules of the designated nationwide VHF, UHF, 700 MHz and 800 MHz public-safety interoperability channels.

“We believe that these measures will enhance the ability of railroad police to carry out their law enforcement responsibilities by facilitating interoperability with federal, state, local and tribal public-safety entities,” the ruling said.

Last year, the FCC requested comment on a National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) petition for rulemaking that asked the commission to amend its rules to enable railroad police to be eligible to license and operate on public-safety interoperability frequencies.

The full notice is here. Comments are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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