Safer Radio for Sheriff's Deputies
Recently, a Levy County Sheriff's Deputy found himself trying to arrest an armed man with no way to call for help or backup. The Sheriff's Office hopes the new radios should help keep that from happening again.
It's the first day for Levy County Sheriff's Deputy Bob Cannon to use his new radio on the job. He says with the old one at least half the time he had to use his cellphone to call for backup--especially on domestic calls.
"Yeah, it makes you nervous when you can't get assistance when you need it," says Cannon. "You need it and can't relay information to anybody."
But after less than one day, he said the reception was excellent.
There's crystal clear reception at Blue Springs Park. But under the old system, even though the tower is only a few miles away in Bronson, coverage was very spotty.
"Throughout the county it was very difficult and at times you could not talk and the next day you might be able to talk," says Lt. Evan Sullivan of the Levy County Sheriff's Office. "It was a very inadequate, very inconsistent and not dependable."
Sullivan says the old radios may have been state of the art twenty years ago when they were purchased, but not in the 21st century.
The new 800 megahertz radios cost more than $1.5 million county-wide but come with all the latest gadgets. There's a red emergency button that will transmit hands-free for eight seconds. Each radio comes with an individual bar code so dispatch can always know who is talking. Plus, it can connect to Fire Rescue, EMS, Highway Patrol and all the police departments in the county except for the Williston Police Department.
Cannon is just excited to have a radio that really works.
"It's great," says Cannon. "Everybody likes them."
The Sheriff's Office will keep the old radios to communicate with Dixie and Gilchrist Counties and the Williston Police Department.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News
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