new radios

Deputy Brad Kicklighter communicates back to base while out on a call.

Pierce County’s deputies often face danger as they answer calls or check vehicles, alone, on a lonely rural road.

What many may be unaware of is that, because of the distance sheriff’s deputies often have to travel away from their office here in Blackshear, they can be completely out of touch with dispatchers when they are out of their cars answering a call or making a roadside stop. Their hand-held radios don’t have the power to reach the base tower back in town, meaning once a deputy leaves his, or her, patrol car, they are essentially on their own.

It’s a dangerous situation and one Sheriff Ramsey Bennett has been hoping to eliminate.

Now, thanks to Pierce County’s drug dealers, local deputies can be safer.

Sheriff Bennett said this week $12,340 in drug forfeiture and seizure monies have been used to provide new walkie-talkie radios for the sheriff’s office. Twenty radios were purchased to cover investigators, command staff and road patrol deputies. The upgrade will allow the radios to use the patrol vehicle radios as their “base” to relay calls to the 911 tower in Blackshear.  The new radios will allow the deputies to be up to 1,500 feet from the vehicle and still be able to be in communication with 911 and with fellow deputies at all times.

“This not only helps to improve communications, but it also helps to improve deputy safety,” said Bennett.

Sheriff Bennett said it is nice to be able to buy new equipment and not have to put the burden on the taxpayers.

“Using the money from the forfeiture and seizure account lets the dope dealers buy the equipment for all of us,” he said.