Nebraska Wireless Interoperable Network nsp draft Policies and Protocols July 20, 2009

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Nebraska Wireless Interoperable Network

NSP Draft Policies and Protocols

July 20, 2009
A. Texting and operation of computers and other electronic devices while driving:

  1. NSP staff shall not type, send, read text messages or operate any computer, personal organizer, cell phone or similar devices, while operating a moving motor vehicle. For their own safety as well as that of the public, NSP staff need to pull over and stop to perform these operations.

  1. NSP staff shall not operate or talk on cell phones while operating a moving vehicle, except in emergency circumstances.

  1. NSP staff shall not operate a computer when operating a moving vehicle. (see #1 above, do we need this?)

B. Operation of the Nebraska Wireless Interoperable Network (N-WIN) radio system:


  1. N-WIN is a VHF land mobile radio system built to APCO P25 standards that is built by a partnership between the Nebraska Public Power District and the State of Nebraska. It will convey voice and data using internet protocol. Administrative Services, Office of Chief Information Officer is responsible for construction and operation of the backbone, including the mater site and tower sites.

  1. The N-WIN Governing Board was created by Executive Order No. 08-03. This board was created to provide governance over the N-WIN system.

Routine Traffic:

1.   Radio communication should be brief and to the point. Radio system traffic shall be limited to official business only. All communications must be conducted in a professional manner, using proper radio etiquette.

2.     Radio etiquette, radio messages will be made and received in the following manner:

  1. Caller will wait for clear air time on selected talkgroup, before initiating a conversation.

  2. Emergency button operation will cut through any other radio traffic, these are only to be used in case of an emergency.

  3. When initiating communication on the statewide radio system, the following format will be used: “This is (radio identifier) —to receiving unit— on talkgroup used”. Example: “This is NSP123 to dispatch on NSP Sidney”.

  4. Receiver acknowledges by stating their state assigned/approved call sign. Example: “This is NSP dispatch Scottsbluff, go ahead NSP123.

  5. Subsequent communication can be shortened to the caller identifier, example: “NSP123 acknowledged.”  

  6. When utilizing private call, call sign protocol is at agency discretion. (delete)

  7.  Plain, clear speech shall be used on system.

  1. Operation of N-WIN by the Patrol:

  1. The talkgroup plan is composed of seven zones, six that correspond to the six NSP troop areas and one zone for statewide use. Each of the seven zones has between 10 and 14 talkgroups. Each talk group is identified by a “mode” that begins with a letter corresponding to that Troop Area, letters A though E and H for Headquarters Troop. The statewide zone begins with an S and contains 10 “event” talkgroups that can be used anywhere within the State to across the entire State.

  2. Normal operations will be conducted within a Troop Area zone, on agency talkgroups as identified by sergeant areas. For example, Troop C will have five sergeant areas: C1 Grand Island, C2 Hastings, C3 York, C4 St. Paul and C5 Kearney. Dispatchers may combine these talkgroups as needed and depending on the availability of other dispatchers. Officers should keep in mind that dispatchers may not be able to talk to them immediately due to other radio traffic that they cannot hear.

  3. Operations requiring encryption will be conducted on “secure” talkgroups identified within each zone or Troop Areas as “NSP SEC” or “ISO SEC”. There are three talkgroups in each zone or Troop Area that are “NSP SEC” and one talkgroup that is “ISO SEC”. Only radios issued to ISO, Troop Area Lieutenants and Troop Area Captains and command staff will have “ISO SEC” as a talkgroup option. (???)  

  4. Non-secure interagency traffic will be conducted on the ‘operations’ talkgroups identified as OP 1 through 3. These are not secure as other agencies may not have radios with AES encryption as those used by NSP.

  5. Secure interagency traffic will be conducted on the ‘operations’ talkgroup identified as OP 4 in each zone or Troop Area. Officers will be able to speak with State Fire Marshall officers using this talk group.

  6. The seventh zone or “S” zone is available for statewide use as needed and contains 10 talkgroups, none of which are secure or encrypted. Operations talk groups within a zone shall be used first if they are available and will meet the operational needs. If operations talk groups within a zone do are not available or do not meet operational needs, dispatchers and incident commanders may request or assign statewide event talkgroups as needed.

  7. Interagency talk groups such as the local operations and statewide event talk groups are not to be used for normal dispatch.

  8. Local “operations” and statewide “event” talkgroups must be requested and authorized by dispatch or an incident commander for events or incidents. If the request is for a planned event, the request should come at least a week prior to the event.

  1. Operation outside of local area.

a) Officers and staff traveling outside their normal operating area will switch from their local talkgroup to the appropriate local talkgroup or zone and talkgroup, unless there is a compelling reason why they need to hear radio traffic from their own area. This is necessary to prevent radios from unnecessarily tying up system resources.
b) The digital trunked radio system is not currently set up to limit talkgroups to particular sites. This configuration allows necessary communications outside of the normal service area of an agency, often made necessary by prisoner transports, EMS & fire support outside of area.

  1. The drawback to this wide area operation is that when a talkgroup is transported to another area of the state, all traffic associated with that talkgroup is then repeated over the local tower that the user is affiliated on. This can cause an overload situation for the local tower, especially if a large number of users are affiliated on their home talkgroups on a single tower. This may result in a busy condition for not only the local users where the outside talkgroups are brought into, but a potential talkgroup busy back in the home area of the user.

  1. The system is designed for this purpose, but within capacity limitations. Use home talkgroups outside of normal service area only when necessary.

  1. Monitoring of talkgroups outside of home area for non-service related business is prohibited.

  1. The affect on system same as outlined above in Section V., Item A4.

  1. Monitoring is defined as the physical affiliation of the radio on the talkgroup selected.

  1. Non-selected talkgroups being scanned do not have the same impact on system.


  1. An emergency is a non-scheduled incident that requires the coordinated response and interoperability of multiple agencies.

  1. All emergency communications will be subject to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) guidelines. This includes incidents that move between jurisdictions. All interagency emergency traffic will be conducted in clear language.

  2. When the situation dictates coordinated resources from agencies without common talkgroups, communications will be on the State Mutual Aid frequencies for that geographic area.

  3. When the situation dictates coordinated resources from agencies with common talkgroups, communications will be on the designated interagency talkgroups as selected by NSP dispatch. All responding units will monitor the interagency talkgroup designated by dispatch.

  4. Special operations talkgroups will be assigned for the duration of the emergency upon request.

  5. NSP dispatch will be notified by requesting agency or acting Communications Unit Leader within the Incident Command/Unified Command when the requested talkgroup will no longer be needed.

Planned/Scheduled Events

  1. NSP dispatch will assign special operations talkgroups will be assigned to scheduled events that require additional communications resources.

  1. Special operations talkgroups should be scheduled well in advance of the scheduled event and will be available for the duration of the event.

  1. Talkgroup assignment is subject to pre-emption if required for reassignment to an emergency incident.

  2. State Radio dispatch will be notified by the requesting agency or incident commander when the requested talkgroup is no longer be needed.

Heavy Radio Traffic Conditions

  1. If a dispatcher or an Incident Commander feels that excessive non-essential radio traffic is impacting dispatch operations or incident operations, the Incident Commander or dispatcher will make a radio traffic restriction announcement. This announcement will be made on appropriate talkgroup(s).  The radio traffic restriction announcement will normally be, "All Units and Stations with non-essential radio traffic stay off the air."

  1. An alternate agency talkgroup can be assigned by dispatch for non-incident related communications.

  1. When the condition is over, the Communications Center or an Incident Commander will broadcast a message announcing resumption of normal radio traffic conditions.

Use of Equipment in Electronically Sensitive Areas

Radio equipment generates Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) that may interfere with the operation of medical or other sensitive electronic equipment. Caution needs to be observed when operating radio equipment in hospitals, nursing homes or in other such areas.

Failure of parts of the radio system:

  1. Protocols should address predictable failures in radio communications. e.g. loss of connectivity with dispatch, loss of a tower, failsafe, etc.

Communications With Adjacent States

(Do we need some version of this?) Several states bordering Nebraska operate on VHF systems, and a number of counties in surrounding states have access to the statewide trunked system. The following channel plan will be coordinated with adjacent states, and all first responder/public safety radios in the state of Nebraska are strongly encouraged to include this channel plan when programming/reprogramming radio equipment.





151.1375  Base/Mobile

Emergency Use Only


154.4525  Base/Mobile

Emergency Use Only


155.475    Mobile

Law Enforcement Use Only


155.7525  Base/Mobile

Emergency Use Only


158.7375  Base/Mobile

Emergency Use Only


159.4725  Base/Mobile

Emergency Use Only


157.250    Mobile                                         Emergency Use Only                         RTAC1                    161.850    Base/Mobile                                                                                          RTAC1a

157.225    Mobile                                         Emergency Use Only                         RTAC2                     161.825    Base/Mobile                                                                                          RTAC2a                                       

157.275    Mobile                                         Emergency Use Only                         RTAC3                   161.875    Base/Mobile                                                                                          RTAC3a                                                                    

700 MHz

453.2125  Base/Mobile                                Emergency Use Only                        UCALLa                458.2125  Mobile                                                                                                   UCALL

453.4625  Base/Mobile                                Emergency Use Only                        UTAC 1a                458.4625  Mobile                                                                                                   UTAC 1

453.7125  Base/Mobile                                Emergency Use Only                        UTAC 2a                458.7125  Mobile                                                                                                   UTAC 2

453.8625  Base/Mobile                                Emergency Use Only                        UTAC 3a                458.8625  Mobile                                                                                                   UTAC 3

Tribal Communications

Presently all tribal governments within the state are migrating to the South Dakota Interoperability Network. This will streamline further the process of communicating from and to the reservations and coordination with other emergency services. Previous to the conversion, all tribal operations were on conventional VHF and the same radios could be used for both systems. Tribal agencies operating on the system are required to program the basic talkgroup plan and        attend training. This ensures interoperability when needed.

Interoperability outside of VHF or the Statewide Network

Agencies that will be operating on the NWIN system are: Nebraska Public Power District, Nebraska State Patrol, State Fire Marshall, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Department of Roads and Department of Correctional Services, Adult Parole. We believe other agencies will join once the radio system infrastructure is complete. These agencies should be able to easily communicate with each other without intervention. Officers will be able to communicate with local law enforcement by switching to the Mutual Aid channel, see directions in part C below. It will also be possible for dispatchers to patch together a local entity and any state law enforcement agency on NWIN using a gateway such as Paraclete, currently operated by the Patrol.

It is also the communications goal of Nebraska to be interoperable within our own user base within NWIN, but also with local entities and possibly entities from outside Nebraska as well. VHF is a given and all interoperability channels possible that will not interfere with the operation of the system will be programmed into all radios as a prerequisite. For those responders coming into the state without VHF equipment, the plan is as follows:

  1. VHF Low-Band

Prior to the installation of the statewide VHF Highband network in the state, operations for law enforcement were primarily on the VHF Lowband part of the spectrum. Portable base stations have been retained, and can be made compatible by cross-banding with an ACU-1000 gateway in the area of operations.

2.  700/800mhz

South Dakota is in the process of establishing its steering committee for the establishment of a state 700mhz plan. The 800mhz plan was established in the state per requirements in 1993 and    is in place as needed.

In anticipation of possible responders from out of state arriving with 700mhz equipment, South    Dakota is planning for interoperability with:

  • Plans to integrate 700mhz radio cables into the ACU-1000 gateway device. This can then be    tied into a base station or the transport for the statewide network and cross-banded to    allow communications.

  • Regional plans to convert mobile data operations from UHF frequencies to 700 for dual          voice/data services are under review. There is a current effort to upgrade mobile data            capabilities, and by moving operations to 700mhz. This will not only provide lower noise    spectrum allowing higher speeds, but also a secondary function would be the capability of          utilizing the fixed sites as a interconnect to 700mhz voice radios through a console patch.

C. Mutual aid channel usage: (based on draft from NEMA/NCOR)

1.0 Standard Operating Procedures:

1.1 Nebraska agencies using mutual aid frequencies to communicate across jurisdictions or agencies must have a common understanding of how and when mutual aid channels are used. This procedure establishes general rules for assignment and use of these channels in emergency and non-emergency situations. The intended audience includes all potential users of the mutual aid communications system.

1.2 The purpose of this standard operating procedure is to provide a framework to guide assignment and use of mutual aid channels in Nebraska.
2.0 Mutual Aid Standard Operating Procedure:

  1. Mutual aid channel usage for emergencies take priority over non-emergencies.

    1. An example of non-emergency mutual aid channel use is an agency calling for directions when transporting prisoners through or to an area that they are not familiar with.

  2. Emergency use of mutual aid channels will be guided by principles of incident command.

  3. Mobile communication assets brought into an area will be subject to mutual aid channel assignment by the local incident commander or communication leader.

    1. All mobile communication assets must report their communication capabilities to the incident commander or communication leader upon arrival at a site and before initiating any communication via their resources.

  4. Mutual aid frequencies will not be patched by anyone who has not been designated to function as a primary communication center.

    1. It is permissible to patch a mutual aid channel to another working channel when it is done by order of an incident commander or communication leader in an emergency or per local approved plans in non-emergency situations.

  5. Mutual aid PSAP dispatch centers will take direction regarding mutual aid channel assignment and usage from local incident command or communication leader in an emergency situation and local dispatch centers in non-emergency situations.

  6. Local communication center personnel will serve as the communication leader until one is designated by the local incident commander in an emergency.

    1. Local communication center personnel will assign channel usage in non-emergency situations and will designate initial channel usage in an emergency situation until incident command is established.

  7. Generally, mutual aid channels are used in situations where multiple agencies are involved in a special event or common cause. The following are examples of proper use of mutual aid channels but are not exclusive of other appropriate uses.

    1. Working channels for multiple fire departments fighting a fire together

    2. Coordination during a police chase through multiple jurisdictions where the agencies have no other communication links with each other

    3. Communication during extended joint operations among multiple police agencies such as drug operations or civil unrest

    4. Coordination of an event during recovery operations after a disaster (e.g., a tornado) that requires local, state and federal officials to have a common communications link

    5. Any responder outside their own jurisdictional area needing assistance or needing to report to the local dispatch center.

    6. Coordination of multi-jurisdictional events involving mass casualties

    7. Coordination of multi-jurisdictional events involving hazardous materials

  8. The following are examples of improper use of mutual aid channels, but are exclusive of other improper uses.

    1. Support of functions that are purely administrative in nature

    2. Use of a mutual aid channel as an extra working channel for a single public safety agency supporting a special event

    3. Use of a mutual aid channel as a surveillance channel among members of the same public safety agency

    4. Use of any mutual aid channel for paging

  9. Assignment of mutual aid channels in an emergency situation that requires incident command will generally include assignment of channels to serve the communication needs of specific functions. An initial assignment of a staging channel by local dispatch may precede designation of other functional channels by incident command.

    1. For example, one channel will be designated by incident command as the Command Channel that is not used as a call channel. Other functions will be assigned a mutual aid channel as required by the event, such as:

      1. Law Enforcement

      2. Fire

      3. Emergency Medical Systems


2.1 Nebraska mobile communication resources and frequencies

Date Proposed by NCOR: June 23, 2008

Date Adopted:

Date Amended:
Attachment 1.1 Phonetic Alphabet examples

A phonetic alphabet is a list of words used to identify letters in a message transmitted by radio or telephone. Below are two commonly used phonetic alphabets. Normally the letter is stated, followed by the phonetic word that represents that letter. For example, “A-Alpha; C-Charlie; T-Tango”

Law Enforcement

Fire/EMS & Military









































































































Attachment 1.2 Mutual aid radio communication guidelines


It is important that the exchange of information in a public safety setting be precise and accurate. One way to insure that information is received accurately is to repeat vital information a second time so the receiver can check for errors.


Radio transmissions must be brief and to the point. Say only what needs to be said and then stop transmitting. Superfluous (unnecessary) words hinder the smooth operation of any communication system. Use of filler words and jargon must be avoided.

Only information of an official nature is to be transmitted over the mutual aid radio system. Use a telephone, whenever practical and appropriate, rather than the radio to provide confidential or extensive information or to obtain expansive consultation.

Words must be pronounced correctly, distinctly and as clearly as possible in order to be understood. The Phonetic alphabet is a helpful tool, especially when dealing with difficult to pronounce names, locations or when transmitting numbers. Another aspect of clarity is the rate that one speaks. When communicating by radio, it is important to speak at a normal conversational rate. Speaking too fast or too slow makes it difficult for the other person to clearly receive messages.

Users should try to maintain a neutral tone of voice, not allowing anger or other emotion to show in their radio transmissions. Users should never engage in sarcastic or disrespectful language, or editorialize regarding persons or circumstances. Users should not engage in argumentative and unnecessary questioning of other personnel over the air.

  • Listen First

    • Listen for instructions on channel usage

    • Listen for your identifier being called

    • Listen for details related to your role in the communication and/or event

  • Think before you Speak

    • Pause momentarily by taking one or two breaths before speaking over the mutual aid channel. This will allow the speaker to quickly formulate an accurate, brief, clear message using plain language.

  • Pause for Equipment

    • Some radio equipment may require the sender to pause before speaking so that the entire message is heard.

  • Pause for Priorities

  • Be prepared for Questions/Clarifications

    • Although radio traffic should be kept at a minimum, it is important that the message you are sending is received accurately. Questions about your transmission will help the receiver understand your message.

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