New radios connect Webster County Sheriff’s Department to first responders across Mississippi

EUPORA, Miss. (WCBI) – Tuesday, the Webster County Sheriff’s Department announced that it has equipped all of its cars with new mobile radios that are connected to a statewide network.

This makes 16 radios for the Webster County Sheriff’s Department that are connected to the Mississippi Wireless Information Network.

“It allows counties to be on the system, municipalities, medical people, fire, emergency (personnel) and so forth,” says Webster County Sheriff David Gore. “It allows all those people to be on the system.”

The MSWIN system was created at the request of then-Governor Haley Barbour in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and is designed to provide first responders with reliable communication, especially during widespread disaster recovery and agencies in the more rural parts of Mississippi.

“Because at the time, game and fish had the only radio system that worked for the state during that hurricane and (the governor) wanted something comparable to that,” Sheriff Gore says.

The radios give the sheriff’s department direct access to emergency personnel across the entire state that are also connected to the MSWIN.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department has been using the radios since at least 2018 and Sheriff Eddie Hawkins says they are invaluable, especially during tornado season.

“We’ll have communication with Noxubee County or Oktibbeha County and be able to coordinate with them if we have a tornado that comes through in the rural parts of the southern end of our county,” Sheriff Hawkins says.

Sheriff Gore says these new mobile radios, which also include the ability to locate vehicles based on longitude and latitude, will now be the central communication system for his department and urges other law enforcement agencies to connect to the MSWIN system.

“It’s something you can rely on that works when you need it to work,” he says.

Sheriff Gore says the grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the mobile radios was for roughly $18,000. He says the previous grant for the hand-held radios they acquired in 2020 was around $27,000.

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