BEND, OR -- Bend’s Police Chief was an outspoken supporter of the county’s law enforcement radio upgrade plans. But, he’s frustrated with how the new system has worked.
Chief Jim Porter is praising Deschutes County Commissioners for taking immediate action as soon as they were made aware of serious technical problems that led to garbled and lost transmissions
; in some cases forcing officers to call in on cell phones during emergency situations. The county is now working on developing two new radio tower sites, and there are plans to hire a full-time radio engineer; two things Chief Porter says he advocated for from the start, "Money-wise, we’re in a good place; we truly, truly are because this stuff was already budgeted. We’re moving forward with it and we’re going to save you money and time by hiring an engineer who is qualified to maintain this site and make sure my officers are safe." Porter says they’ve identified two sites on Bend’s west side for new transmission towers … one on Overturf Butte, and the other near the water treatment plant. He tells KBND News, "That site was already scheduled to be built out, so the money was already budgeted. It wasn’t my decision not to build the site; it was the county 911 district decision not to build the site." He’s hopeful a temporary radio tower will be online in the very near future, increasing coverage on the west side of Bend.
Porter says development of the system deviated from the original design and, some computer code was set up incorrectly, leading to problems, There’s nobody more frustrated when my police officers are in a foot chase with someone armed with a gun and they have no way to call in. I’ve been a Chief for a while, but I remember what it’s like to be a cop. When my cops are out at domestics and they have to use their cell phone to call in, it’s very frustrating."
Chief Porter says that for the first time in six months, he’s optimistic about the direction things are headed. Te hear our full conversation with Bend's Police Chief, click HERE
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