Monday, May 20, 2024

County enters MOU with Erath, Somervell to enhance radio network


The Hood County Commissioners Court unanimously entered into an agreement — specifically, a memorandum of understanding — with both Somervell and Erath counties to extend Granbury’s Regional Radio Network.

Among the first of its kind in Texas, Granbury’s Regional Radio Network allows the Granbury Police Department to connect with several first responders in the area like Texas EMS, Air Evac and CareFlite medical transport companies, Hood and Erath County Sheriff’s Offices and volunteer fire departments, Stephenville Police and Fire Departments, Tarleton State University, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the United States Marshals Service.

GPD’s attempts to obtain an updated radio system date all the way back to 2006.

“Every other year, we have a graded exercise for the nuclear plant, and we kept getting dinged because we didn't have any interoperability, communication-wise, with anybody in Somervell County, or any other agency for that matter,” Chief of Police Mitch Galvan previously told the Hood County News. “So we, along with the sheriff, started trying to get what's called a P25 radio system that will allow us to talk to other agencies on the law enforcement network.”

In April 2019, the GPD officially started a discussion during a workshop with the Granbury City Council and Hood County Commissioners Court about implementing a P25 radio system.

In May 2021, a contract was signed with American technology company L3Harris, and the new radio network officially went live last August.

Not only does the new radio network have an abundance of useful and beneficial features, but its signal strength is much stronger than it has been in the past.

Chief of Police Mitch Galvan explained how previously, GPD officers were unable to transmit radio signals out when they were stationed at Granbury High School, Lake Granbury Medical Center or Walmart.

"Our handheld radios wouldn't transmit out because they're large concrete structures, so we told them going in, ‘We have to be able to communicate inside these buildings, so our handheld radios need to be able to get out of these buildings,’” Galvan previously told the Hood County News.

Galvan said the department’s ultimate goal is to try and get as many other networks around the metroplex as they can on one big conglomerate talking to each other.

"If we leave here going in the metroplex, we can still communicate with them,” he said, previously. “It's going to be extremely valuable to us and anybody west that joins this network to be able to communicate, well, forever, which is just absolutely huge.”

Although Erath County previously joined the radio network, Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds explained this MOU will extend the system already in place.

"We built a tower up on the Diamond A Ranch and Erath County would like to have access to put equipment up there,” Deeds said during a Hood County Commissioners Court meeting April 23. “That will just enhance our radio system to the west, so I'm all for it.”

As for Somervell County, the MOU will allow those county officials to use Hood County’s equipment on their county-owned radio tower located on the property in Chalk Mountain.

“It's our equipment, but that would allow them to interface with our equipment to expand that part of the system too, so we'd be expanding farther to the south and farther to the southwest,” Deeds said. “So, this is going to enhance everything for Hood County and our radio system, so I'd ask that you allow the judge to sign these two memoranda of understanding.”

“I'm really glad that Erath and Somervell are coming on board with this,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Kevin Andrews said. “This really complements our system and expands that range. Communication is a good thing.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Jack Wilson also chimed in that this will help reduce the areas that have zero radio capabilities.

"There's still little pockets that are out there where there's no communication,” he said.

"Getting off to the west side of the county, there's a lot of holes, but this is definitely going to make it better,” Deeds said. “It should fix everything actually."

“It’s all about communication,” Massingill added.

Andrews made a motion to approve entering into a memorandum of understanding with both Somervell and Erath counties. The motion passed unanimously.