Radio communication gaps leaving SPD officers exposed

Communications problems for Slaton law enforcement officer once again were exposed during three incidents in the past week that placed officers’ lives in jeopardy.

Police responded to an early morning shooting Sunday in the 300 block of W. Dickens (see related story). Officer Casey Goodnight was first on the scene and could not use his radio to communicate because of the crime scene’s location in the “dead zone” where digital radios used by patrol are out of range of an antenna.

“We (back-up) were on the scene within 30 seconds, but this was a potential life-threatening situation,” said SPD Sgt. Steve Dekraker. “There was literally no radio communication for an hour.”

Later on Sunday, police again had a radio issue. Officers stopped a vehicle in the 400 block of W. Garza at 2 p.m. Officer Nick Wurst attempted to arrest a man for possession of a controlled substance, when the subject fought with Wurst during the commission of the arrest.

Dekraker said Wurst radioed for back-up multiple times and the call never came through the radio.

Read more in this week’s edition of The Slatonite.

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