GREER, SC – It’s out with the old and in with the new at the Greer Police Department.
The department is looking to replace its old analog radios with more than 100 digital radios, called the Palmetto 800’s.
“Being able to communicate directly to people is going to be very good for us, and we’re going to be extremely happy for that,” said Lt. Patrick Fortenberry Thursday afternoon.
Lt. Fortenberry explained the current radio systems have caused a few minor setbacks for the department.
To speak with their own fire department or other outside agencies, for example, officers have to go through dispatch.
“This cuts the middle man out and allows us to hear information first-hand, which is always the best thing,” said Lt. Fortenberry.
These new Palmetto 800’s would also allow them to speak directly with other law enforcement in the state.
Greer Police cited issues with “dead spots,” as well.
In certain areas, a signal could be muffled or not received at all.
“We’ve always known where our particular spots are where radio communication gets garbled a little bit, so we always work in pairs in those particular areas.”
With the city growing, Lt. Fortenberry explained they’re getting more calls for help in places that are far away from radio towers.
The distance has been lending to weaker signals as the radios age, he explained.
The Palmetto 800’s are said to have much stronger signals.
Greer police told 7 News they are testing out 2 different models; Motorolla and Kenwood, before making a final purchase.
They expect to cost between $300,000 and $350,000, which will be funded equally by city money and federal money.
“All uniformed officers that are working the field will have one on their persons as well as one in the field,” said Lt. Fortenberry.
The Greer Police Department hopes to implement their new radios as early as January 2018.