The Deschutes County Sheriffs Office will get help from the Department of Homeland Security in a regional communications overhaul. The help comes in the form of a $205,000 grant. $50,000 will buy 37 radios and the rest will help fund a study to help determine what kind of regional communication system is needed. Improved inter-agency communications is part of a nationwide mandate from the Federal Communications Commission to better prepare the country for regional events including terrorists’ attacks. Local officials say reliable communication is critical: “It is huge. In fact yesterday was a perfect example, the 911 system went down for about an hour and a half. We had no body to tell us where to go. It is a huge critical piece of public safety is our ability to be able to communicate.” Deschutes County Sheriffs Captain Tim Edwards says it is getting more difficult to find replacement parts for the current radio system. He says this study will give local planners input on exactly what kind of replacement system should be purchased. He says this large of a purchase would be phased in over several years.