MADISON COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Authorities say a radio system upgrade will make Madison County safer for both law enforcement officials and residents.
According to Sheriff Bobby Spain, there are areas in the county where deputies have no communication with dispatch. He said it's a scary scenario, but change is coming.
In law enforcement, good communication is key, but when you can't count on it, heading out on a call can be a bit scary.
"Once we get into the south third of our county, radio service is very sketchy," Spain said. "If you need help, you can't get assistance. Whenever we try to go into these parts of the county, we try to take two people but sometimes that's not possible."
Spain said these "dead zones" are not only dangerous for deputies, but also for the public.
"If you have to leave a scene or go somewhere else to contact someone, you're away from what's happening," Spain said.
However, a soon-to-be upgraded system will help.
Doug Bell with Midwest Radio Systems said it's a switch that's happening all over the country based upon recent government guidelines.
"Any new product in the commercial or public safety, has to be digital capable," Bell said.
The new radios will have built-in GPS locators and emergency buttons. With better features and stronger coverage, Sheriff Spain said the new system is a safer choice for everyone.
"It's going to move our tower more to the central part of the county so it's going to put it in a lot better position for us," Spain said. "It'll be the best case scenario as for a radio once we all go digital."
An $8,000 dollar grant is paying for the new equipment, but that's just phase one. They're running on analog for now, but Sheriff Spain said the next step will be making the move over to digital.