Wichita County Sheriff's Office Looks to Update Old Radio System

The Wichita County Sheriff's Office has been trying to update its radio system for two years, so deputies can hear each other loud and clear all over the county.

Sheriff David Duke and dozens of deputies poured into commissioners court Monday morning to show their support for the new Motorola system.

"We're going to go from a Radio Shack walkie talkie to a professional radio system," Sheriff Duke said.

This new system would take the sheriff's office from the outdated "very high frequency" system to the modern "ultra high frequency" system.

"To be able to communicate with a deputy anywhere in the county on a portable radio is almost nonexistant, because of the frequency interference and the problems that it causes," he said.

Sheriff Duke said this is more than a wish list item; it's a potential life saver.

That's why this project is his number one priority.

"This is something that should've been done 15 years ago," Sheriff Duke said. "The jail should have been 20 years ago. The sheriff's office should have probably been 25 years ago."

"These are all important things that we have to have to have things done for the criminal justice system in this county," he continued. "However, to me, the most important thing which could cause someone to lose their life, or an injury, is the radio system."

The update won't be cheap; the baseline price is $4 million, and that doesn't account for things like insurance on the system.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said commissioners agree this change is necessary, but finding a way to pay for it will be difficult.

"This is something we need to do," Commissioner Lee Harvey said. "It's something we can't really afford, but there's a lot of things we do we can't afford."

"We may even be able to absorb most of it into the current tax rate, which is the goal," Judge Gossom said.

Payment details are still in the works, but commissioners said they hope to have the system up and running by 2018.


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