Emergency Radio

A Brief History of Emergency Service Radio


Police, Fire Department and Ambulance are the three emergency services that nowadays use an integrated communication system. In this brief history you will find that the Police was often the first service to introduce new communication technology to the emergency services. The crime fighters always had the urge to keep up with the criminals and criminals are always apt to use the latest technology to their (detrimental) benefit.

Remember that the city police system as we know it now was first organized in Philadelphia in 1751. In New York, the city police was organized only in 1845. Up to the creation of city police, marshals and sheriffs enforced the law.
  1. First Technology

    The first technology used to communicate between police officers was the ratchet.

  2. Telegraph

    The telegraph allowed communicating from the patrolling police officer to the police station.

  3. Telephone

    The telephone allowed two way communications, but they were not yet mobile.

  4. One-way Radio

    With cars, the need for mobile communications rolled in.

  5. Two-way Radio

    Within five years of the first radio in 1933, two-way radio was introduced into the cars of the Bayonne, New Jersey police.

  6. Walkie-Talkie

    With a car installed radio, the officer cannot communicate to the station when out of the car.

  7. Trunked Radio System

    An AM or FM two-way radio system uses one frequency to communicate.

  8. Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Radio (ARMER)

    ARMER is the Minnesota state wide emergency radio system.