April 12, 2006
Communication during a crisis is crucial. Madison County received some much needed help to move their technology forward.
Interoperability is the ability of public safety agencies to talk to one another while working the same fire or police situation. While this process sounds simple, police and fire agencies all across the state have different kinds of radio systems. These differences often make it hard to communicate. That is, until now.
"We'll have the radio ability to communicate with them without having any problems with their type of radios compared to our type of radios," said Madison County Sheriff Erik Weaver.
Madison County is one of 25 jurisdictions statewide awarded a grant to improve emergency communications. The $40,000 will allow them to purchase an encoder that will bridge the communication gap.
"With this, we could take it on scene, park it near where the event is and we would automatically have communications with whoever we need to talk to," said Madison County 9-1-1 Coordinator Robert Finks.
County officials say they recognized the need for this system after the floods of 1995. Now after 11 years, their recognition is finally being realized.
"Madison County is rural. We are limited in funds and this was just something that became available and we took the opportunity to put in for it," Finks said.
It is an opportunity that citizens might not notice, but officials say will make the department more efficient.
"Instead of working harder to communicate, this is just an easy way...for us to communicate with other Sheriff's departments and other departments in the County," Weaver said.
The money will be dispersed to the localities in the next two weeks. When Madison County receives the funds, they say they will then order the equipment.
Locally, Orange and Nelson Counties also received the grant.