Sunday, January 8, 2012

Effort Under Way To Upgrade WCOs Radios

You might think, in this age of instant access, that all law enforcement officers are outfitted equally, equipment-wise.

You'd be wrong.

Some wildlife conservation officers with the Pennsylvania Game Commission have not had high-frequency radios capable of contacting dispatchers with the 9-1-1 system directly. That remains the case in many places.

"Some of our officers here in the (southwest) region have those kinds of radios, but others do not," said Tom Fazi, information and education supervisor in the Bolivar office.
An effort to change this is under way.

Kingston Veterans & Sportsman's Club in Latrobe raised the $2,000 or so necessary to outfit Westmoreland County conservation officer Brian Singer with a radio. Now, sportsmen are working to raise the money needed to get the county's other two officers, and perhaps their deputies, matching radios.

Tay Waltenbaugh and Jack Brown of "High and Wide Outdoors," a locally produced radio show, are coordinating the effort to solicit donations.

David Grove
"Imagine the worst scenario of an 'officer down.' That officer would have to radio his dispatch office in Ligonier. That dispatcher would have to literally pick up a phone and call 9-1-1 for assistance," said Brown. "This is crazy."

It was only a year ago, he noted, that a Game Commission officer died in the line of duty. David Grove was killed in a shootout while investigating a call related to nighttime shooting.

Anyone interested in contributing to the radio fund can make a check payable to Westmoreland Community Action, where Waltenbaugh is CEO, and mail it to the group at 226 S. Maple Ave., Greensburg, PA 15601. Write "radios for wcos" in the memo line

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