Houston County moves closer to new radio system

Houston County moves closer to new radio system

DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - After more than two and a half years of work, there is now movement on a project to improve communication between law enforcement and emergency responders in Houston County.

“Sometimes you only have one chance to make a call for help, or let someone know where you’re at. It’s vital,” said Major Bill Rafferty with the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

HCSO and emergency personnel around the county have had to get creative for years in communicating with each other. Often they’re not able to rely on their portable radios, so they have to use their cell phones.

“We’re doing what we can to keep everyone covered. Hopefully we get this new system before someone gets hurt,” said Rafferty.

The county is operating off towers in Dothan for their communication radios, but they need more connection coverage. They’re looking at a seven site tower system. The towers will go up at multiple locations across the county - including Gordon, Cottonwood, Columbia, Taylor, and several in Dothan. The department hopes this will clear up radio connection issues they’re having now.

“The sheriff lives just outside Taylor and he has no communication. Once you get out in the Ashford area there’s a lot of issue with the radios because of distance,” said Rafferty.

Some of the new towers will sit atop water towers to provide the best reception.

The system will also allow them to have communication with law enforcement in other jurisdictions.

The county has to bid out this project - they’re hoping to do that in the next 2-3 weeks.

Major Rafferty says he hopes they’re running on their new tower system within the next six months.

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