Jul 22, 2013 8:44 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

Sheriff's Office unveils new communication system

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office unveiled its new state-of-the-art Radio Dispatch Center Monday morning.

The Sheriff's Office is the first local law enforcement agency in the nation to use the technology, although the system has been used by the military and federal agencies for several years.

The system was even at the Super Bowl this year for additional security measures.

"It's something we have always wanted and never had," said San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson.

Prior to the new technology, the Sheriff's Office would communicate on numerous radio frequencies, but there were limitations, especially when communicating with other agencies like California Highway Patrol and CAL FIRE.

Sheriff Ian Parkinson gave an example of how the new radio dispatch system could be used during a tsunami.

"All the responders to that you have CHP, you have fire, you have all those agencies and communication is just so vital," he said. "This technology allows all agencies to be on one frequency. Now we have every channel available that we communicate with in the county, so it really expands our ability to communicate and manage any kind of an event."

Ultimately, the technology gives law enforcement the ability to communicate more effectively, which could lead to a faster response time.

"When I was a police officer, we had one device that you could use and sometimes we would be out of radio contact sometimes for hours. And now you have the ability that if you have the ability to connect to any tower, a cell tower, a radio tower, you can now communicate on the different devices and they all interoperate," said TJ Kennedy, Dir. of Public Safety and Security for Raytheon.

There are many new features to the system, but one that stands out is a new app sheriff's deputies can access on their smart phones.

"You could really be anywhere in the world where there is cell phone reception and you could connect back to this dispatch center through the dispatch system," said Undersheriff Tim Olivas, San Luis Obispo County.

The project cost roughly $500,000 and was developed by Raytheon and Twisted Pair Solutions.

The Sheriff's Office said it was able to use money left over from salary savings from the prior fiscal year to pay for the new system.



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