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By far, one of the most important contributors to the efficiency of modern-day law enforcement is unquestionably communications. That covers just about every facet of today’s operations from the Chief’s office intercom through Dispatch, SWAT raids, routine patrol, surveillance, drug buys, records storage and retrieval, coordination from level to level and division to division, and right on down to “Hey! Let’s grab a quick lunch while the air’s slow!”

trisquare.gifFor field communications, we’ve thankfully come a long way from that dark night of July 22, 1934, during the famous federal stakeout at the Biograph Theater in Chicago, Agent Melvin Purvis stationed himself out front, waiting to identify John Dillinger as he exited. The signal, in those days prior to the widespread use of radios by cops, was for Purvis to light a cigar on sighting Dillinger, after which the surrounding agents would close in. The story goes that Purvis went through about half a box of matches before he found one that lit, and the delay in signaling “That’s him!” nearly lost them America’s most wanted gangster of his day.

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By far, one of the most important contributors to the efficiency of modern-day law enforcement…