Belhaven PD connects to new radio system

Published 7:30 pm Thursday, April 20, 2017

BELHAVEN — As of this month, Belhaven Police Department is officially online with the county’s new telecommunications system.

“We’ve had no issues whatsoever. Everything’s been positive,” town Manager Woody Jarvis said at the April 10 Board of Aldermen meeting. “We really feel like this is a step forward for the county and the town.”

Police Chief F.P. Clingenpeel, who attended the meeting, agreed that the switch went smoothly for his department.

The telecommunications system is part of a larger goal to connect law enforcement and other first responders on one countywide system. Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office debuted its plans to move all municipalities to the new system more than a year and a half ago, but the Town of Belhaven had to first purchase new radios and program them to be compatible.

The Town used roughly $30,000 in funds from the United States Department of Agriculture to help pay for the radios. Another approximately $67,000 in USDA funds was used to purchase two updated police vehicles for the department.

Another piece of the puzzle is the implementation of Emergency Medical Dispatch, effective as of January 2016, which is also a countywide system for telecommunicators to remain on the line with a caller, and if needed, walk the caller through life-saving measures. The new telecommunications system works in a similar fashion, and allows telecommunicators to stay connected with an officer for the duration of an incident.

“When we send an officer to a call, there is an obligation to have somebody on the other end to be with them while the call is answered,” Jarvis said. “Our folks will have some help that they haven’t had before.”

Although the switch-over proved to be a long, often frustrating waiting game, Jarvis said he views this as a positive step for officers and citizens alike, in Belhaven and in the county as a whole.

“This is really a good testament to what we can do when we work together,” he said.