The Mobile Communication Team Kit, also known as a COMTEK, was designed to support the function of a communication team, where there is a primary, a communication coach, and others who would benefit from hearing the negotiation such as intelligence gatherers and supervisors.
The COMTEK is small, compact and lightweight and can be placed in the “go-bag” of crisis negotiators, CIT officers or anyone who may end up in a critical telephone conversation which would benefit from the support of a communication team. Because of its affordable price of only $319 every team member can have their own, so that whoever shows up on scene first will be ready to make a critical phone call, even before other team equipment arrives.
The COMTEK uses an in-ear microphone which is placed in the primary’s ear so that the audio of any telephone placed against that ear is captured and distributed to the other parts of the team. Because the ear speakers on all telephones project the audio of both ends of the conversation, others listening via the COMTEK will be able to hear the subject speak as well as the primary.
This audio-sharing is accomplished because the microphone in the primary’s ear is plugged into a matched digital recorder which boosts the microphone’s signal and sends it out to earphones worn by the coach and to an amplified speaker which can be placed at a distance from the primary and used as a hub for others to monitor the negotiation. All of these components fit into the amplified speaker case.
Patrol officers and CIT officers no longer need to “go it alone” when calling into a suicidal subject’s home. The COMTEK allows others to support the primary’s efforts through monitoring and pursuing intelligence, as well as keeping other on-scene responders up to speed regarding developments in the negotiation such as threats, plans to surrender, what the subject says he is seeing of the law enforcement response, and more.
These kits are in use across the country by crisis negotiation teams as well as first responders such as CIT officers and ECIT officers. The COMTEK is a light weight, compact unit designed to support many situations in which the ability to monitor and/or record a telephone call is important. Because the COMTEK does not rely on Bluetooth or other wireless technology, it works with all types of telephones including cellphones, cordless phones, desk phones or “throw phones” and does not require any pre-incident pairing or set up with a particular phone.
The whole unit weighs about eight ounces and is compact enough to fit into a large cargo pocket or pouch. The case for the unit is itself an amplified speaker which when opened provides access to all of the components. The in-ear microphone is impressively sensitive, and the recorder (which can store more than 40 hours of audio) has a hidden built in USB plug, eliminating the need for cords to transfer recorded files to a computer.
A Tool for Negotiators and CIT/ECIT Officers
The COMTEK supports the main functions of a communication team. This makes it an excellent tool for capturing, monitoring, sharing and recording (if so desired) both sides of a telephone conversation such as a negotiation with a barricaded subject.
No longer do CNT personnel need to wait until the arrival of their team negotiations operations center (NOC) or command post in order to call the subject of a stand-off. Any member on scene who possesses a COMTEK can set up a NOC within a couple minutes by using the COMTEK. COMTEKs have been used effectively for hours-long negotiations and short negotiations in various parts of the country, even after the NOC arrives. The COMTEK allows the negotiation coach to hear the telephone conversation between the primary and the subject. Additionally, an integrated amplified speaker allows for others nearby to also hear the conversation, allowing for intelligence to be pursued and other elements of the law enforcement response to receive timely updates on the negotiation.
Some agencies issue a COMTEK to every CNT team member and some issue a COMTEK to every CIT officer (or ECIT Officer). This ensures that no matter who arrives first, a communication device will be on hand and the ability to make a team-supported call immediately present. For teams with members spread across a large area, the COMTEKs become an even greater necessity, because the team negotiation vehicle may be more than an hour away from the scene.
A Tool for Witness Interviews and Third-Party Recordings
The COMTEK can be used when making telephone contact with witnesses so that others who need to hear the information can do so in real-time. If a third-party recording is needed, the COMTEK has this capability built in. With the push of one button, the pertinent part of the conversation can be turned into a recording to be played at a later time.
When considering the use of a live third-party intermediary, the ability to listen to both sides of the conversation is critical. The COMTEK allows for the monitoring of this conversation so that the TPI can be given direction on how to respond to questions or statements made by the subject in real-time.
A General Tool for Investigators
The COMTEK is ideal when using an informant to call a suspect or making a surreptitious telephone call from a crime victim to elicit incriminating statements from a suspect. Often the informant or crime victim needs monitoring, support, or guidance while engaging in these phone calls. The COMTEK allows the investigator to listen to and record the conversation, provide real-time direction during the call, and avoid surprises about the content of the call after the call is ended.
Investigators who carry a COMTEK as part of their daily equipment will not be caught without the ability to record an important phone call, just because it came in on the investigator’s cell phone, office phone, or any phone for that matter.
The recorder can be unplugged and used to record face to face interviews or make third-party recordings face to face and then later plugged back into the speaker for clear review of the recordings.
The speaker can by plugged directly into the audio port of a laptop or cellphone to provide clear, amplified review of digital audio files such as a 911 call associated with an incident.
When reviewing recordings at a later time for report writing, the amplified speaker allows for clear review of the recordings without the need for additional equipment.
NOTE: This kit does not include a phone. It is designed to work WITH any phone, specifically a standard cell phone.
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