WICHITA, Kan. -- Police officers, deputies, and EMS all over Sedgwick county are learning how to use a brand new radio system. The county recently switched from analog to digital.
The interim director at Sedgwick County Emergency Services says the switch means better and faster communication for emergency services across the entire county.
We spoke with the police chief in Cheney and he says before the switch, they couldn't rely on their radios to talk to or hear from anyone.
"Before a lot of times something would be happening on the highway just outside of Cheney and we wouldn't know about it because we couldn't hear it on the radio,” Cheney Police Chief Howard Bishop said.
That was in the analog era. Now that Sedgwick county is all digital, Chief Howard Bishop says calls are coming in loud and clear.
"Oh it's a whole new world for us. We can talk to anybody in the county," Chief Bishop said.
Sedgwick county overhauled their entire system. Everyone from police, to firefighters, even hospitals are using digital radios.
"When all is said and done our radio shop will have touched 7, 000 radios,” interim director Kim Pennington said.
Kim Pennington say there have been some kinks to work out, like officers and deputies having trouble getting through to each other.
“We've had a few and some of those are user errors. This is a completely new system,” Pennington said.
But Pennington says being able to reach every radio in the county with clearer communication is worth dealing with some growing pains.
"Because a lot of times on the old system it would be scratchy and it'd be garbled and now it's clear as day,” Pennington said.
Chief Howard Bishop says the end to the their radio silence is good for his officers and the people the protect.
"If you call for help you may only have one time to do that and somebody needs to hear you,” Chief Bishop said.