County patches in to regional radio

Published 8:00 am Thursday, February 15, 2024

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Prince Edward County is working on a new radio system, one that connects all departments. From fire and rescue to police, our neighbors want to link it all together. And now they’re talking with officials from Lunenburg County about joining in. 

“We’re working with Lunenburg on a patch to put the two systems together,” said Trey Pyle. He works as deputy emergency management director for Prince Edward. 

Radio patching is a way for multiple groups on different systems to communicate. This way, if Lunenburg County fire departments are called out to assist on a Prince Edward call, or vice versa, the communication would be a lot quicker. As it stands now, one department has to call their dispatch, which then the dispatch calls the second group. Officials from several departments in the region have pointed out that the idea doesn’t exactly work, especially not when you’re dealing with serious injuries. 

Farmville Fire Chief Daniel Clark referenced the problem last week, when he spoke with the Farmville council. Last Wednesday, there was a severe accident in front of the Farmville firehouse that left one vehicle overturned and people pinned inside. Clark had to go use his cell phone to call other departments, due to the lack of abilities with their current system. 

That’s why Prince Edward County and Farmville, along with Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College, will be joining together to use one regional radio system, a Motorola Countywide P25 UHF Phase 2 Trunked Radio System.

So what does this mean for Lunenburg County? While the details are still being sorted out, being able to patch into the system means quicker connections for Lunenburg sheriff’s deputies and potentially the fire departments as well, both responding to calls for assistance and sending them out. Lunenburg isn’t the only additional county looking into the patch. Charlotte County officials are also discussing ways they can connect to the system.