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Muskogee Co. Receives Stimulus Funds To Improve Communication

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Right now officers and paramedics in Muskogee County are forced to carry several two-way radios with them, each one representing a different agency. Right now officers and paramedics in Muskogee County are forced to carry several two-way radios with them, each one representing a different agency.
The time spent getting a dispatcher to relay a message can be the difference between life or death. "Cardiac arrest, full arrest, you've just got minutes before you start going brain dead," said Chief Derek Tatum, Muskogee Fire Department. The time spent getting a dispatcher to relay a message can be the difference between life or death. "Cardiac arrest, full arrest, you've just got minutes before you start going brain dead," said Chief Derek Tatum, Muskogee Fire Department.
Just this week officials learned Muskogee County is getting $3.4 million in stimulus money to refit its communication towers, build new towers, and buy new radios for first responders. Just this week officials learned Muskogee County is getting $3.4 million in stimulus money to refit its communication towers, build new towers, and buy new radios for first responders.

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

MUSKOGEE COUNTY -- There is good news for law enforcement in Muskogee County. More than $3 million in stimulus money is headed that way to pay for new radios and communication towers.

There are several agencies in Muskogee who are responsible for taking care of the public. This latest round of stimulus money is meant to improve how they communicate to each other in an emergency.

Staying in touch and up to date is a main goal for law enforcement and first responders. Dispatchers help agencies communicate from one to the other, but in an emergency, the time spent getting a dispatcher to relay a message can be the difference between life or death.

"Cardiac arrest, full arrest, you've just got minutes before you start going brain dead," said Chief Derek Tatum, Muskogee Fire Department.

Right now officers and paramedics in Muskogee County are forced to carry several two-way radios with them, each one representing a different agency.

"I know the Muskogee Fire Department, we have three frequencies. Muskogee Police Department have five or six frequencies, then we've got all of our outlying communities, Fort Gibson, Warner, they've got their frequencies," said Chief Derek Tatum.

They say it can cause quite a headache when the different agencies are working together.

"And we'd have highway patrol on one end that you can see, county over at another of a field you can see but you can't communicate with them. You can call back to our dispatch to call their dispatch to call them on the street, that's the situation we've been in," said Dep. Chief Johnny Teehee, Muskogee Police.

Just this week officials learned Muskogee County is getting $3.4 million in stimulus money to refit its communication towers, build new towers, and buy new radios for first responders.

The remodel will let law enforcement talk directly to one another and skip the dispatch center.

They say it's perfect for emergencies, such as the bridge collapse on I-40 in 2002 when personnel from several agencies responded to the scene.

The goal is to have the system up and running in 18 months. They say it will bring the county together, while keeping the residents safe.

Muskogee County commissioners say it's an appropriate use of stimulus money because it will put people to work building the new towers and eventually a central dispatch facility.

They also plan to hire more people to work as dispatchers when it opens.

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