NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Sheriff’s deputies are no stranger to the tense, potentially life-threatening situations that arise in law enforcement, but Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges says the danger in these moments is even greater if dispatch isn’t able to hear or understand deputies in the field.
“That dispatcher has got to be able to talk to that officer, and that officer has to be able to talk to that dispatcher with no hesitation, no pause, and that’s how it needs to work," Bridges said. "If it doesn’t work, we put lives in danger.”
“When the dispatcher is trying to give them additional information about who they’re dealing with, and they can’t get that data, it becomes a life-threatening situation for them,” said former dispatcher Tara Triana.
For a long time, sheriff’s deputies have had issues communicating with dispatch on their portable radios. According to Sheriff Bridges, these issues aren’t a new problem.
“We’ve had issues for some time with our radio system," Bridges said. "Sometime ago that system went down. We’re working on trying to get it back up. Right now we’re operating off the city system. They have an old system called the public works and they’ve allowed us to use that system.”
The plan is to find a new communications system. In the past, the Sheriff’s Department tried to manage problems with their radios, but they say that’s not enough anymore.
“As problems have arisen we have tried to fix them or band-aid them and we’re at the point where that’s just not working any longer,” Triana said.
Implementing a new system will take a considerable amount of time.
“It’s not something that you can just fix overnight, it has to be a plan laid out, it has to be thoughtfully carried out, because this is a big investment, but it’s something that’s gonna have to be done,” Bridges said.
Sheriff Bridges said that once their previous communications system is repaired, a full evaluation will be done to see what new system will work best for the department and the county.