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What Is Interoperability?


Interoperability in the public safety context means the ability of personnel from multiple agencies or departments to communicate with each other by radio.  Not all public safety agencies use the same radio systems.  This can lead to problems, especially when these agencies need to work together during a major incident.  Tom Czaja, the Southeast Regional Interoperability Coordinator, works out of the Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security to assist public safety agencies in southern Wisconsin in achieving interoperability.  This is accomplished through the use of mutual aid frequencies, Tactical Interoperability Communication Plans (TICP’s), Communication Asset and Survey Mapping (CASM), incident communication plans, gateways which connect radio systems and exercises which test communication plans. 

Another way of achieving interoperability in Wisconsin is the Wisconsin Interoperable System for Communications (WISCOM) system.   The WISCOM system is a shared system that first responders across the state can use to communicate during a major disaster or large-scale incident. WISCOM dramatically increases the current capacity available with statewide mutual aid channels and allows responders from any area of the state to assist another community without losing communication capabilities. 

Tom Czaja is available to answer your questions about interoperability or assist first responders in southern Wisconsin addressing interoperability issues.  He can be contacted at 414-286-5130 or



FirstNet's goal is to provide public safety-grade reliability and nationwide coverage so all public safety personnel can count on the network when they are on the job. FirstNet is also aiming to provide coverage solutions that let public safety "take the network along" to the destination in certain geographies. FirstNet will create a nationwide standard of service while affording localized customization and control.


When the FirstNet network launches, it will provide mission-critical, high-speed data services to supplement the voice capabilities of today's Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks. Initially, the FirstNet network will be used for sending data, video, images and text. The FirstNet network will also carry location information and eventually support streaming videos. FirstNet plans to offer cellular voice communications such as Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) or other alternatives.


The state has created the Wisconsin Public Safety Broadband (WiPSB) program for the purpose of maintaining contact with FirstNet personnel throughout the entire development process. WiPSB was designed to make sure that Wisconsin public safety will be adequately served in the FirstNet network. Learn more about the Wisconsin Public Safety Broadband program here.


Click on the image below to watch a brief clip on FirstNet.


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Contact Us

City Hall
200 E. Wells Street
Room 605
Milwaukee, WI 53202

414-286-5062 (Office Line)

If this is an emergency requiring immediate response, dial 911


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