The City of Los Angeles Fire Commission formally recognized Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Flynn and his father, Patrick Flynn, on June 6, 2023, for their exceptional contributions in the development of the current high-tech radio system used Department-wide.
Chief Flynn was recognized for his exceptional leadership and outstanding work related to the deployment of more than 3500 new portable radios, and the training of over 3200 sworn members from April, 2018 to December, 2019. Thanks to Chief Flynn’s leadership, personal sacrifice and unwavering commitment to this project, the Information Technology Bureau (ITB) successfully delivered the most advanced piece of critical communications equipment to the Department on record.
On April 15, 2018, Captain Michael Flynn was detailed to ITB, Fire Communications and Dispatch Support Section (FCDSS) to support the receipt, training and deployment of approximately 3500 new Motorola APX8000 XE / HXE portable radios. From the moment he arrived, Captain Flynn took initiative to not only participate, but to lead nearly every aspect of the portable radio project. He organized the receipt and timely inventory of the radios, developed comprehensive initial testing and quality assurance procedures, created training plans, live action training videos, and all written training materials. He also created an app to for members to access all radio reference material, organized the radio training cadre made up of LAFD members, developed training schedules and tracking materials/radio delivery, and personally delivered more than 160 courses to over 3200 LAFD members.
Midway through the deployment of the new radios to the field, FCDSS began receiving reports of various issues with the new radios. Chief Flynn, through his own personal initiative took the lead in working with his FCDSS team members, LA City's Information Technology Agency (ITA), and Motorola to identify the problem as being related to the antenna. He then developed a rigorous testing procedure and series of testing protocols that were used over the course of an intense, eight week period to isolate the problem before the antennas were deemed suitable for deployment to the field. The intense testing protocols developed were used and implemented to test each and every one of the antenna versions used with the portable APX 8000 HXE radio. Every aspect of the tests were documented with helmet cameras and grading sheets, and procedures were established by Chief Flynn. He created a shared website with full transparency of every test performed, including photos/videos and all test results. Chief Flynn provided live streams of the new antenna testing to Motorola staff across the world and to all of the LAFD and ITA personnel on the antenna testing group. Flynn’s unwavering commitment to firefighter safety and high professional standards has resulted in the LAFD developing a testing protocol that has now set a brand new standard series of tests for evaluating future portable radio equipment configurations.
As a result of Chief Flynn’s focused commitment to this project, the new portable radios were deployed to the field in time for their use during the 2019 brush fire season. This milestone marked the first time in LAFD’s history that every single LAFD member on the fire ground and operating on emergency incidents had all-band voice communication capabilities for all communications plans. It was during the Saddle Ridge, Palisades and Getty Fires in 2019 that the actual impact of these new radios was realized. Voice communications on Very High Frequency (VHF) capabilities were possible for both air-to-ground and ground interoperability on VHF high-band, the default radio frequency spectrum band utilized by the California Fire Service.
As mentioned above, there was a monumental task of delivering radio training to all members to learn a new critical piece of equipment. Therefore, multiple training videos were created. With the support of the In-Service Training Section and approval from EOPS/AOPS, videos were created to ensure members could learn and review the information at their own pace. The videos were produced with assistance from a professional recording studio in Fire Station 60's district, called Riverton Productions. Chief Flynn's father, Patrick Flynn is the owner and sound engineer that assisted the LAFD with a total of 18 audio/video projects over the last five years, ten of which are training videos that are still routinely used within the LAFD, today. The videos are available on the iLAFD app, on Vimeo, and through Target Solutions (online training platform).
Riverton Productions has over 42 years of experience, including working on major motion pictures such as: E.T., Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, The Grinch, Apollo 13, Seabiscuit, Ghostbusters, and more.
We thank Patrick Flynn for his critical assistance on these video projects. Every video requires a combination of recording, editing, mixing, adding effects, and many other aspects in post production. The assistance provided was done voluntarily and saved the department lot of money.