When most people think of our law enforcement, they think of a badge and a gun, coming in response to a call to 911 for help. The badge is a symbol of their training and responsibility and the gun is a very important tool when confronting dangerous criminals. However, I think the most important tool is not their service weapon. The key to keeping our community and our deputies safe is their radio! Their ability to work as a team, particularly in response to dynamic emergencies, is essential – and their ability to communicate makes all the difference.
Wednesday afternoon, the critical nature of that communication and teamwork was front and center. Tacoma Police (TPD) was stopping a car driving erratically in South Tacoma, when the occupants stopped and shot at the police while fleeing. A 27-year TPD veteran was shot in the shoulder. Getting him quickly to the hospital and bringing the law enforcement team to track and apprehend the suspects relied on our public safety radio system. Thankfully the officer is in stable condition and appears to be recovering well from his wound. The two teenage suspects were arrested and booked in Remann Hall.
I recently had a chance to learn more about the radio system that our members of law enforcement count on by visiting the Department of Emergency Management’s (DEM) Radio Communications shop. They’re the ones that spend hours outfitting new patrol vehicles, boats, and even planes, with the important radio gear that keeps our deputies connected to each other and to other law enforcement agencies. And most people never think of all the radio towers, antennas, computers, and emergency generators that make the system work throughout our 1,800 square mile county!
While I had a great time drilling holes and playing with the lights, the work the team does is incredibly important. My thanks to Tim Lenk and Will Matsumoto of DEM for sharing their time and expertise with me.
And, I have a bonus video this week. If you’d like to learn more about the many ways our team programs those red and blue light bars, check out this video:
I hope you are enjoying the waning days of summer. Bring on football and fair scones!
Thanks for reading,