Harvey County Emergency Communications System Gets Much-Needed Upgrade

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
April 21, 2016

Harvey County emergency responders are celebrating today as the county goes live with their new emergency communication system.

The problems with their old system began a few years ago when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required law enforcement all over the country to use less bandwidth on their radio systems.

The result for Harvey County was more than a 40 percent drop in their coverage area.

As reported by KSN, Harvey County Director of Communications Don Gruver said that after the county switched over to the narrow-banding that FCC required, there were random dead zones throughout the county and emergency responders simply couldn't rely on their radios working.

This directly affected February's shooting incident at Excel Industries in Hesston. According to Gruver, as soon as the officers got inside the Excel building, their radios quit working. After the shooter Cedric Ford was shot down, the Hesston police chief had to ask a civilian to call 911 to update the other emergency responders nearby.

The total cost to update the county's communication system was between six and seven million dollars.