Gaston County, N.C., Police Buy New Radios, Software

The Gaston County Police Department will soon be equipped with new mobile radios and updated radio software worth over $460,000 in total after officials there voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

by Gavin Stewart, Gaston Gazette / September 3, 2019

(TNS) — The Gaston County, N.C., Police Department will soon be equipped with new mobile radios and updated radio software worth over $460,000 in total.

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the purchase Tuesday night after Gaston County Police Chief Joe Ramey expressed the need for updated radio gear.

New 800 MHz mobile radios started rolling in this week. Ramey hopes to equip the entire department with the radios by early October and implement the high-capacity "VIPER" radio software come March 2020.

It's what law enforcement calls TDMA software, which stands for time division multiple access. It's designed to improve traffic capacity and communication flexibility, Ramey said.

"Should capacity be needed, we could double our capacity on our system... like if we have a hurricane, or a tornado or just traffic in general," Ramey said.

The system avoids the cost of altering current radio towers for higher capacity as well as using alternative radio waves to communicate. Much of the state's first responders are already on VIPER, and it will become a county and statewide system over the next few years.

VIPER is an expansion of the current state-wide Motorola radio system, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website. By purchasing the software now rather than later, the department is saving around $75,000, Ramey said.

"We will be in much better hands as far as public safety goes," Ramey said.

The bargain is funded by Gaston County Police's drug asset forfeiture fund. When the department makes drug busts or overtakes any property owned by drug traffickers, a portion of the tax on those assets goes to Gaston County Police to buy new equipment.

©2019 Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, N.C. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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