$730,000. This is the ticket price one police department has for ensuring your safety.
It all has to do with how quickly different police departments can communicate with each other via radio – something which is crucial in mass shootings or critical incidents.
“We have to go back to units, use our personal phone, city phones…so that we can do our regular day-to-day job. And [it] takes up a lot of time, and it takes up [the] time of the citizens,” says K-9 Patrol Officer Joshua Hilliard.
This means Hewitt Police officers like Hilliard aren’t able to quickly respond to your emergency when it matters most.
“Sometimes whenever we get calls, it’s a little jarbled or mixed up. So we have to get things to be repeated sometimes. It just flat out doesn’t get out,” Hilliard said.
But changes are coming. The Hewitt City Council approved a new radio system which will cost tax payers almost three-quarters of $1 million. But Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin insists it’s worth every penny.
“In our business, time is crucial,” Devlin said. “So we have to have information as fast as we can possibly get it. Any delay in that information, either on the criminal justice side or in the firefighting world, that’s not acceptable. We have to have it quick. It has to be in a timely manner, and has to be clear and concise.”
The program as it stands also allows communication with Baylor University Police, and even parts of Bell County.
They hope to have communications ready to use by December 1.