Panola County is located in Mississippi just east of the Mississippi Delta and has a population of 37,500 across 710 square miles. Panola County dispatches for 14 fire departments and five law enforcement agencies. They are part of the Mississippi Wireless Interoperability Network (MSWIN) and saved over $800,000 by choosing Tait radios to run on the MSWIN.Download client story as a PDF
Panola County was facing major interoperability issues. They had a "hodgepodge of radio and radio systems" and needed to be able to communicate effectively with each other.
Daniel Cole, Director of Panola County Emergency Operations and Chairman of the Panola County 911 Board, explained that their old system had limited coverage within a five mile radius. Reliable communications and interoperability was a real concern especially when dangerous situations arose. Mr Cole describes a recent challenge that officers faced during the pursuit of a suspicious driver: "Several agencies were being shot at by the fleeing vehicle. When the driver bailed out, there was a foot pursuit, but nobody could talk to anybody. Everybody was on their own system, and nobody could communicate with each other."
To improve the safety of their people, the county needed reliable, interoperable, open standards-based communications.
The toughness of the equipment the officers and fire personnel were using was also a concern. Mr Cole explains, "In Panola County we're not real gentle with our equipment. We needed some equipment that would be able to take a beating and keep working." Not only did the portables and mobile radios need to be tough, but equipment such as consoles needed to be resilient enough to handle electrical lightning storms that have repeatedly hit the county.
Panola County needed reliable, robust equipment that would also provide seamless interoperability.
Tait Communications and Avtec Inc provided an open-standard, interoperable communications solution for Panola County.
More than 400 Tait P25 Phase 2 portables and mobiles and Avtec's Scout™ dispatch consoles now operate seamlessly on the MSWIN, a P25 Phase 2 trunked system (800MHz) which allows the County to communicate with 27 agencies state-wide.
The County did its research and was assured by other agencies that Tait radios had the quality and durability that they required.
The recommendation paid off, Mr Cole explains, "Now several months since implementing the Tait radios I'm 100% confident in them. We've had Search and Rescue events involving several state agencies and the National Guard, all communicating on different brands of radio, and the Tait radios have never failed. We've had zero complaints – everybody loves them!"
The pure IP Avtec Scout™ consoles provided the Panola County dispatch center with redundancy and greater resilience in a recent emergency. Laura Spell, Dispatch Supervisor, describes what happened when the center was recently struck by lightning: "In the past, they would have lost the dispatch but this time, even though several other things went down, the Avtec Scout™ consoles withstood the test and everything was perfectly fine."
Choosing a non-proprietary Tait and Avtec solution saved Panola County over $800,000 of taxpayer money.
Mr Cole says, "We've been operating with the Tait radios and Avtec dispatch consoles for several months now and we couldn't be happier with their performance and the service we've received is second to none. I would recommend Tait and Avtec to anyone."
Since implementing their new critical communications equipment, Panola County has already put their Tait radios to the test. A TP9435 model was accidently dropped into a local controlled fire. Mr Cole explains, "It was burned up, we pushed to talk and we could still talk to Jackson on the radio despite the fact that the knobs and the antenna was burned off. And to me, that speaks volumes of the product."