Broward County (FL) Overview

From The RadioReference Wiki

Broward County, Florida, provides fire and rescue as well as police services to unincorporated areas of the county and by contract to several municipalities.

As part of an effort to unify the various and sundry pieces under one umbrella, former Sheriff Ken Jenne took over police services for municipalities such as Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, and Tamarac. BSO (Broward Sheriff's Office) also provides dispatch and communications services for even more jurisdictions that have their own police departments.

He also took over the county Department of Fire Rescue in October 2003 when all operational and administrative responsibilities were transferred from the Broward County Board of County Commissioners to the Broward Sheriff's Office. As with police services, several jurisdictions contract for fire and rescue services from Broward County rather than maintaining their own fleet and employees.

This overlap can be confusing to the newcomer trying to monitor public safety communications in Broward. BSO law enforcement covers roughly 40% of the populated area of Broward County, but dispatches about 60% of it. Of the remainder, most have their own radio systems, some of which are zones of the Broward SmartZone trunked system. There are a few conventional systems still in use, as well.

Who Is Where


1 - TRS = trunked radio system; BC TRS = Broward County TRS

2 - Although Broward County subsumed other trunked systems into its SmartZone plan, for the purposes of the scanner enthusiast you should program each Broward County TRS site as a separate trunked system into your scanner. This will have to be done manually, as the automated web service of RadioReference will glom all talkgroups into the same system on your scanner and you will not hear what you expect to hear. For example, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach will be heard on the Fort Lauderdale system, which is known as site 4 of the Broward County trunked radio system. However, if you program Fort Lauderdale or Pompano talkgroups into your scanner on Broward's main site 1, you won't hear anything.

3 - Pay no attention to the fire dispatch channel names 'North', 'West', and 'South' as they imply nothing as to which units can be heard on them. They are simply three different dispatch channels to spread the load, that's all.

Fire and EMS

For most fire and major rescue incidents dispatched on Broward fire North, West, and South talkgroups units are switched to the first available of tac A, tac B, and tac C, in sequence. While three tactical talkgroups are allocated, they don't always have three dispatchers available to work each channel simultaneously so you might hear activity on an "unmonitored" tac channel.

On large incidents requiring mutual aid from other fire departments, the zone 12 talkgroups (12A through 12O) might be used or patched over to the primary fireground talkgroup. Beware that sometimes 12B is used for training exercises and other 12 zone talkgroups are used for coordinating special events. Also 12 Oscar often has law enforcement traffic on it, even though the zone 14 talkgroups are set aside for that use. The 12 zone talkgroups must be requested from and assigned by the dispatch supervisor prior to use.

Stations 17/23 (HazMat), 32 (Technical Rescue Team), and Air Rescue 85, are always dispatched on Broward fire North channel.

Wikipedia:Broward County Uniform Station Numbering lists fire stations in Broward County, including municipalities.

Police Services

Interoperability is provided by the zone 14 talkgroups, 14A through 14O (14 Oscar). These talkgroups may be used for special events, coordination between police departments during chases or investigations, and on those occasions as a backup when a jurisdiction has trouble with its own trunked system, as happens far too frequently with the Fort Lauderdale trunked radio system.

The police helicopter is named the 'Papa' unit and uses BSO 8A as its home channel. When the helo is needed to assist another district he switches to that talkgroup; when finished he returns to 8A. Monitoring the repeater input frequencies for the Broward trunked system often allows the helo to be heard; this can be used as your trigger to monitor the associated talkgroup to hear the full conversation.

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