Upgrading Communication System

Thomasville and Thomas County officials are working hand-in-hand to try to upgrade their public safety radio communication system. By updating their current system, they could save lives.

Last September, Valdosta and Lowndes County emergency officials got their new digital communication system up and running and workers here say that could help Thomasville get one of their own.

Thomasville and Thomas County officials say when it comes to communication between emergency service workers, their analog system may be a little behind the times.

Elaine Mays, Thomas County Commissioner, says, "Our EMTs have a problem. They go into a house and in order to communicate back via their radio, they have to get back in their trucks."

Sheriff's deputies trying to communicate with police officers experience delays as do other city and county officials. They say it's time to look into a digital radio communications system like the one shared by Valdosta and Lowndes County emergency workers.

City and county officials say their main concern when dealing with an issue such as this is how to pay for it. They say they've been discussing several different options such as building onto the current tower behind the Sheriff's Office and Police Department and building a whole new tower in Coolidge.

"The digital gives us more capabilities to move forward into the future, to communicate seamlessly between municipalities or between counties," says Thomasville City Manager Tom Berry.

Officials say this project may only be in the planning stages, but any amount of time saved in the field could mean a saved life.

City and county officials expect the project would cost around $1 million. They are talking about trying to implement this possibly in their 2005 budget. Officials say nothing has been decided yet, but they will continue to discuss the project.