Salisbury Needs New Radios to Communicate with Allentown Police

Salisbury Township Police Chief Allen Stiles says Allentown Police Department's new encrypted radios hinder communication with Salisbury police.

may get three new portable radios due to an unforeseen communication problem with Allentown Police Department's new radios.

Salisbury Township Police Chief Allen Stiles told the that Allentown Police Department's new encrypted radios, which will be in use starting June 30, will make communication very difficult.

Encrypted radios allow police communication to be kept from the public.

Due to the encryption, Salisbury's police radios do not have the ability to communicate to Allentown's new police radios and vice versa.

While Stiles called Salisbury’s police radios great, he explained they do not have the capability of going to the type of encryption Allentown has.

“This poses a dilemma for police officers to engage in communication with Allentown,” Stiles said at the commissioners' June 14 workshop meeting. “Without the communication, someone could get hurt.”

He said since Allentown and Salisbury are so close,

Township Manager Randy Soriano questioned if the two municipalities could communicate without buying new radios.

Stiles said Allentown police officers would have to keep some old radios and switch over to Lehigh County. He said this would only work in non-emergency situations because the process could take too long.

Commissioner Debra Brinton suggested Soriano talk with Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

Soriano said he felt that was unnecessary, but did criticize Allentown’s decision to use the encrypted radios.

“They are like a stand-alone police department,” he said. “We are accommodating them.”

Stiles said he found out about the radios unofficially from Allentown police officers at the end of April.

“We didn’t have a chance to plan for this,” he said.

Stiles said when budget talks grow closer, he will provide a better plan to the board of commissioners.

Carl W June 22, 2012 at 12:53 AM
A former firefighter for W. Salisbury, living in Allentown, I often described the Twsp. as kind of a spaghetti strip around Allentown. We and A. F. D. interacted often. No reason A.P.D. & Salisbury wouldn't, also. Allentown okays, then definitely go for it. (Fires stay in one location....criminals & suspects can run and drive in & out of borders). Think about Emmaus, too. (& S.Whitehall)!
John Franken August 02, 2012 at 11:21 AM
The funny thing about this story is that every other police department in the area (Including Emmaus, Salisbury, South Whitehall, etc..) has the ability to directly communicate right on Allentown's main police frequency with the current radios they have. If there is an issue in Allentown and a fleeing felon is headed toward one of these other townships, Allentown PD does not have the same ability, and tune to their main frequency. APD has to rely on their Comm center to relay to county radio. I am sure once APD goes to their encrypted radios, they will have a common channel that they can all switch to to communicate.


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