Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

Or should I ask, “Can you all hear me now?” Communication is vital in our lives. This is doubly so in a police officer’s life. We tell new officers that their radios can be the most important pieces of equipment on their duty belts. So, when opportunity knocked and offered a chance to update our radio system in Overland Park, we accepted.

Recently we transferred over to a Motorola 700 / 800 mhz system. That sounds technical but, in layman’s terms, it means we can communicate with any other Johnson County agency by way of radio. We can also talk to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Department of Transportation, Overland Park Public Works and the Johnson County Bus system. But wait, there’s more.

When the tornado tore through Greensburg, Kansas a few years ago, we sent some of our officers to help. The officers were able to use our equipment, such as cars, but communications became limited. Obviously in-car and portable police radios were intended to work in Overland Park, but once officers left the metro area, the radios were nearly useless. The new system allows us to communicate with agencies state-wide.

The officers have good things to say about the new system. They have already used it to communicate with outside agencies, which has allowed them to reduce response times and be better prepared upon the arrivals to calls. The old system would go down at times and officers would frequently report back that they either could not transmit traffic or could not hear transmissions.

In short, the officers can be heard now. And that is a good thing.