Longwood police department receives help to improve radio system

Published 6:45 am Tuesday, October 4, 2022

FARMVILLE – When emergencies happen, communication and connection are vital. A recent grant will help Longwood police make communication between safety departments easier.

The Longwood Police Department (LPD) earned a grant totaling $25,000 to upgrade their handheld radios for communications between the various law enforcement and public safety departments in the Farmville community. This includes LPD, Farmville Police Department, Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office and Hampden-Sydney Police Department.

This grant is through the Department of Criminal Justice and is only available to law enforcement departments that serve a higher education institution. In a press release, Longwood Police Lieutenant Stuart Raybold expressed that due to the LPD’s status as an agency with concurrent jurisdiction with the town of Farmville, there is a great importance of being able to communicate with other agencies.

“Most of us are sworn deputy sheriffs with Prince Edward County,” Raybold said. “[We] kind of need to be able to communicate back and forth with those agencies, and not just have a common dispatch center for us in Farmville.”

What changes happen for Longwood police?

The grant allows the department to upgrade its analog handheld radios to a more secure digital signal that is clearer and more compatible with other law enforcement organizations. During an emergency, this will allow real-time communications among the three organizations and across multiple jurisdictions.

The Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office has completed the transition while the Farmville Police Department is completing the upgrade, which was also funded by a grant. According to Raybold, the grant was awarded due to the LPD’s special relationship within the town of Farmville.

“We’re very unique, even in the state,” Raybold said. “Most colleges only have authority for the police department on the campus roads adjacent to the campus…that got changed for Longwood years ago because the student body has such an impact on the town.”

A new system for Prince Edward

This isn’t the only new communications system coming to the county. The Prince Edward Board of Supervisors has regularly discussed for the past year how to upgrade the County’s public safety radio communications system.

The County is full of holes in the connection that make it hard for first responders to communicate if needed during an emergency. In a recent board meeting, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Trey Pyle gave an update on the emergency communications radio system project after CTA Consultants LLC conducted a study of the system.

Much like Longwood’s new system, the CTA Consultants LLC suggested putting all entities of the community on the same system. A final report from the consultant group will be presented in the upcoming board meeting.

“At this point, they have completed their study, they’ve given some recommendations so now we’ve kinda gotta sit back as a group and figure out what’s going to work best for the community in the future,” said Pyle.