Retired River Forest Illinois Police Officers

Chronology of Police Radio

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To complement the preceeding  page,
Fighting Crime with Radio,
listed here are various police radio firsts
in chronological order.

Parker Bros. Game


Police Radio Dates




Chicago PD puts first automobile into service(2)



Detroit PD purchases 1st squad car(24)



****NYPD (Harbor Police) use Marconi Spark Transmissions ****

to transmit to police boats and ships in harbor. (10)

WPY is possibly the call(11, 8/32)



****Radio Telegraph in use by NYPD for harbor communications (15)****



****Detroit PD experimenting with transmitter and one radio cruiser(11)(24)****

…a model T Ford(26)



Detroit PD is transmitting (11,10/31)

and issued provisional-commercial license KOP(24)

(obstacles: FRC refused at times to renew license because they insist KOP

should be broadcasting entertainment with interspersed police calls)(24)



****PA State Police establish a statewide

radio-telegraph network****

(250 Kc/s)(10)



May, International Police Conference held in NYC: proposed system of dispatching “police alarms”

by radio to outlying stations (15)



February, NYPD featured in story:

“Battling Bandits by Broadcasting”

Reporting that NYPD is experimenting with broadcasting

police alarms” by radio to fixed points from WNYC(15)

(WMAC unhappy with sharing 570 Kc/s with WNYC )(11,8/32)



Spring Detroit PD Commissioner Rutledge announces

 radio tests closed, because of poor results(11)



April 7,

****Detroit PD, KOP officially broadcasting (11)(5)(26)****


Detroit PD, W8FS transmits to cruiser #5 (10)





March 19

Radio Station WGN dispatches Police Alarm Calls between programming.(1)

Nineteen CPD squad cars are equipped with receivers. Officials involved:

Sgt. Kenneth Cox, Detroit PD,

CPD Commissioner William F. Russell,

 Deputy Commissioner John Stege

and WGN manager Vernon H. Prible(6)


April 27,

 OPPD reports they have a Lincoln squad

equipped to receive WGN broadcasts


July, 23

 WGN ends police call broadcasting experiment (1)X



Stock market crash



Detroit PD dispatcher, in police HQ, can remotely activate station WCK (former KOP) on Belle Isle. Radio operator at island transmitter site repeats the “flash messages”.

(WCK might be operating on 3166 Kc/s, as it is licensed there by October 1930 but will be assigned 2410 Kc/s and 2414 Kc/s in 1932) (21)


Detroit PD’s terminology for their radio (receiver) equipped cars-

Cruisers: high-powered 7 passenger touring cars w/four officers armed with bullet-proof windshield, auto-pistols, revolvers, shotguns and tear-gas bombs. Detroit may have 15 of these by now.

 Scout Cars: Light cars w/2 officers on patrol.(11)(12)




August 8,

CPD installs transmitters at 3 locations

-all on 1712 Kcs(8)(2)

Call Letters: WPDB, WPDC, WPDD(8)

Lt. Cox on leave from Detroit PD has been assisting(1)

from the Chicago Daily News, 1929
CPD Officer R.B. Greenwood and Detroit Lt K.R. Cox in police radio lab




Numerous Police Departments around the country are now licensed for broadcasting on the medium wave police band. It will be 1933 until another Illinois station joins CPD on the medium band (21)


NYPD: WDKX is licensed on 1684 Kc/s (21)

(NYFD is WRBC licensed on 1596 Kc/s) (21)


Pasadena PD: KGJX is licensed on 1712 Kc/s (21)

(is Berkeley PD on before this? They have three letter call, KSW, but earliest info

I have is 2/32 on 1712 Kc/s)(21)


Cleveland PD: WRBH is licensed on 1712 Kc/s (21)


Michigan State PD: WRDS is licensed on 1662 Kc/s (21)



October 3,

Eight Oak Park PD squads

now receiving CPD transmissions

called: “Police Alarm System”(1)


October 17,

 River Forest trustees disapprove Chief’s request

for squad car receivers

 They say a receiver (to hear CPD transmissions)

at RFPD Station is good enough(1)


November 10,

RFPD installs first radio in squad car for

reception of calls

from CPD (Warren Ave.transmitter)(1)


November 21,

First assignment is dispatched to RFPD squad


This is accomplished by RFPD calling OPPD

who relays the info to

CPD dispatch center,

who then broadcasts back to the RFPD squad(s).



Conference of Chicago, Suburban Police Officials advised to join with first two police departments,

Oak Park and River Forest, to receive radio dispatches via direct hook up with CPD.





Detroit PD, WCK is on the air 24 Hrs per day(11)

500 Watts



Boston PD: WEY is licensed on 1712 KC/s (21)





NYPD=WPEE (Brooklyn-400W), WPEF (Bronx-400W),


 on 2450 Kc/s(8) with 250(or 400)(21) radio cars,

2 man runabouts & 7 man limos(11)

(also listed for New York is: WCF marine,  1596 Kc/s

and by July: WRDU Brooklyn marine, 1596 KC/s)(21)


Chief Soderlin, erroneously states

that 2-way transmissions

by RFPD were instituted in 1932

and that it was the first successful

2-way radio system in country”(3)(16)(18)




Washington State PD

radio receiver on motorcycle

(first dept?)(29)


May 3, (or March)(23)(24)(5)

 ****Bayonne N.J. PD first 2-way transmissions (10)(25)****

8.6 meters(about 34.6 Mc/s ) 25W base & 4.5W mobile(11)

31.1 Mc/s AM(27) 12 mobile units (21)


July 10th

Eastchester Township, NY PD institutes two-way police radio. W2XCT 20Watts /4.5 Watts W2XCS W2XEL two cars(28)34.6 Mc/s(21)



Highland Park, IL PD, WPFD

now broadcasting on 2430 Kc/s (8)

(Highland Pk appeared on police alarm list

in January but without call)

****First suburb to transmit on medium wave ??****


December 13

RFPD station “W9XB put on the air- 40.1 Mc/s”(20)

(frequency is sometimes listed as "41" Mc/s)

The ultra-short waves”

 license was applied for in October,

and when granted six weeks

of work followed

until 1st receiver was placed into a squad”(7)

“Lake Forest PD already has 2-way”(7)

****First in IL on 5 meters??****



St. Louis PD and Cincinnati PD transmissions

are interfering with CPD broadcasts(4)(1)


January 2,

RFPD, W9XB reception ok, now goal is 2-way radio(1)


Lake Forest PD, IL reports they had 2-way radio in 1934(22)

****First 2-way in Illinois?****


February 9, (License issued)

RFPD issued license W9XB ‘til June 1, 1934

(41 Mc/s., A3 mode, 11 watts power out)(9)

(W9XA is assigned to NBC)(8)


March 3,

photo: RFPD 2-way radio(6-Mar.4)

Best document supporting first 2-way in RF



Piedmont PD (Calif) been testing 7 Meter,

2-way police radio for several months (21)


July 25,

At midnight RFPD, W9XB

went off experimental status

and into active 2-way radio dispatching

@40 Watts 41 Mc/s(6)


Month ?, 13,

 RFPD photo in paper “First 2-way transmission”(6)



 Detroit PD has 2-way(11)



 NYPD plans for radios on motorcycles(11)



Boston PD considers GE two-way system(11)(21)




January 20,

****APCO is formed(10)****


January 22,

RFPD “Captures Criminal” story,

with 2-way radio(6)




Newark PD is operating 1-way on 30.1 Mc/s


February 24,(or 27)

RFPD W9XB, new station transmitter in service.

Better range, up to 10 miles(20)



Washington DC Police,

demonstrates receiver on m/c (11)






Boston PD is licensed with experimental call

on PD medium band:

W1XAO on 1712 Kc/s (21)



Peoria PD, W9XBA operates on 6 meters (21)


July 26

RFPD, W9XB recent authorization from Federal Radio Commission

allows power increase from 15 to 100 Watts(6)


WQFL, Oak Park PD now transmitting

on 1712 Kc/s with CPD(8)


When Oak Park transmits

a red light goes on the board at CPD

(via dedicated line)to signal them to wait(27)





W9XL Lake Forest PD (4 mobiles W9XBL-XBO)(8)

W9XM Winnetka PD(8)

W9XEO Highland Park, IL(8)


October 13,

 FCC Order #19: 29 VHF-LO Channels

assigned to Police

  for 2-way use 30.58 Mc/s to 39.9 Mc/s(10)

30-42 Kc/s was called “Ultra-High”

Manufactured equipment now available




Crazy FCC regulations:

 forbid police transmitters to send messages to points they cannot reach!!! Nor may they use point-to-point communication between stations located in the same telephone exchange area! (17)(May)




May 1,

 WQIN. RFPD 39.5 Mc/s

(base=100 watts   cars=25 watt)


Joliet PD and Lake Forest PD begin FM on 35-39 Mc/s(27)

(WQLK-Lake Forest?)



****Connecticut State Police: First two-way FM system(13-6/03)(25)****




RFPD KSA942 158.73 Mc/s(12)

(unshared frequency)(8)




CPD first two-way transmissions(2)

 KSA954, KSA955 & KSA956 1714Kc/s Mobiles:155.97(12)



NYPD uses two-way AM in some squads

(30-40 Mc/s) (17-Dec)





Los Angeles PD equips m/c

with 2-way radios, 6VDC, AM.

Possibly: TX: 45 Mc/s @ 7W, RX: 2366 Kc/s (12)


Radios appearing on the surplus market around this time were the AM split-band equipment, such as a Motorola Police Cruiser 1.5-2.5 Mc receiver and

the 30-40 Mc/s T69-20A transmitter.(25)


July 1,


FCC new rules: “Public Safety Radio Services”

replaces “Emergency Radio Services”

for police, fire, forestry, highway maintenance and special emergency;

Maritime= 152-162 Mhz; Railroad= 152-162 Mhz; Urban Transit= 450-460 Mhz


155.37 point-to-point




Microwave systems are used for point-to-point(10)






RFPD now going to FM;

dismantles WQIN, (1931 radio)(6)(8/19/50)

(article say RFPD had 2nd 2-way sys in country!)




RFPD, KSA942 is two-way simplex

and solo on 158.73 Mc/s(12)

(RF will later give up its own frequency

and join 17 other

Chicago west-suburban PDs on 155.49 Mc/s(12)


Oak Park PD base KSA462

is still transmitting on 1714 Mc/s but

the mobiles are transmitting on 156.98 Mc/s(12)


CPD (KSA954,-5,-6)

is still transmitting on 1714 Mc/s but

the mobiles are transmitting on 155.97 Mc/s(12)



Los Angeles PD still dispatching on 1700 Kc/s (25)





RFPD applies for ILEC grant

to fund leaving 155.49 Mc/s

and share system with OPPD and FPPD

with new computer-aided dispatching(19)




October 1972

Hillside PD Off. Anthony Raymond kidnapped

and murdered,

his transmissions covered on crowded frequency.(1)


Police and Fire move to 450-470 Mc/s(10)

911 is introduced


November 1976

ISPERN 155.475 (30)



Departments use 800 Mhz Trunking(10)


155.09 “Aurora” ACSB RFPD (First in US)

Mobile digital Terminals(KDTs, MDTs)



155.O55 IREACH

For a number of years, up until the 1970s,
all police officers, who used a two-way radio-

were required to have and carry this
restricted radio operator's permit

Police Freqs. Listed 

180 MTRS 1596-1712Kcs

125 MTRS  2342-2490 Kc/s

    30-42 Mc/s(8) 








(1)               Forest Leaves Newspaper Article

(2)               Chicago American Newspaper

(3)               History Of River Forest 1938,

          Pub 1937, Albert Hall

(4)               Chief Carl Soderlin quote

(5)               IEEE History

(6)               Chicago Tribune Newspaper

(7)               Unknown date news clipping

(8)               Police Alarm list published in Radio Magazine

(9)               Federal license

(10)           History of Communications:

(11)           Radio News Magazine

(12)           APCO Nation Police Com Directory, 1951

(13)           Electric Radio

(14)           Wireless Radio, A Brief History by Lewis Coe, 1996

(15)           Popular Radio & Wireless Age

(16)           Chicago Police Digest, July 1939

(17)           Radio Craft Magazine

(18)           Letter from Bill Ingle XXXXXXXXXXXXX

(19)           Page from ILEC grant application by Chief Ahrens 1971

(20)           Police Benevolent booklet

(21)           Shortwave Craft Magazine

(22)           City of Lake Forest-Public Safety:

(23)           Phil Peterson:

(24)           Detroit News

(25)           Electric Radio #169 June 2003

(26)           The Police Chief 9/83

(27)           As told to H. Blesy by Ero Ericson (April 1983)

      (28)    Famous First Facts (book) by Joseph Kane
               (1997- 5th ed.)
     (29)    Police Cars, A Photograpic History
                 by Monty McCord (1991)
(30)      Robert Hajek-owner PIC COM