ARANSAS COUNTY, Texas — First responders in Aransas County are now working with a new state-of-the-art communication system for emergencies after the communication towers they had were knocked down by Hurricane Harvey nearly two years ago.
According to the Aransas County Sheriff, the system they had was not equipped to handle what Harvey had in store. When the towers fell, their main source for connecting with first responders was gone; and even when portable towers were brought in, the rest of their equipment was so dated that their connection was limited.
Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said they used that as a lesson and updated to a P-25 digital system, virtually making all lines of communication possible.
"We can talk to any brand radio that comes into Aransas County, or anywhere they go," Mills said.
They now have the capability to communicate with 12 different agencies, according to Communication Director Lee Zapata.
"State partners, federal, EMS services, fire services, animal control services, school police department," Zapata said.
With an updated tower system, other technology followed. The officers are equipped with a radio that can talk directly to a specific school within their district.
"My officers responding to an event at the middle school can pick this radio up and speak to the administrator on the campus as to what's going on before I even get there," Zapata said.
Zapata said the new system makes for a more efficient system and a safer community.
"To be able to operate again on this new P-25 digital system is a huge step forward for what we can do and what we can provide for all those first responders on a 24/7 basis," Zapata said.