July 29, 2004

Grant Funds New Radio System For Sheriff’s Department

Can you hear me now? That’s a well known slogan of a national cellular service but until recently it could have been radio traffic between local law enforcement officers. But thanks to a Local Law Enforcement Block Grant the Scotland County Sheriff’s Department officers should have no problem generating audible radio traffic.

The $7,620 grant helped purchase a new repeater system for the law enforcement radio system operated by the sheriff’s department.

“The system works by an officer talking on his radio, which transmits to a remote radio that then transfers the signal on to the base or the other officers anywhere in the county,” said Sheriff Wayne Winn. “The ability for officers to talk directly to each other eliminates the need for officers to rely on the dispatchers to relay information.

The radio repeater will now allow officers to communicate directly even when they are on opposite sides of the county.

“The officers can now talk to most areas of the county no matter where they are transmitting from,” said Winn. “There are a few spots where the signal isn’t great but it’s still a significant improvement over the old system.”

The new channel also eliminates the problem of “cross-over” from other agencies that could at times overpower the local traffic.

“Other agencies do not do this intentionally, but the channel known as the “sheriff’s net” is the primary channel for law enforcement and they all have emergency radio traffic from time to time as well,” Winn stated.

The new system was made possible by the LLEBG grant, which required a 10-percent match by the county. The department will retain the older radio system to use when needed.

Winn indicated that responsible scanner owners that wish to monitor the department’s radio traffic may request the radio frequency at the sheriff’s department.

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