Not lost in translation: Pasco police getting new radios

PASCO, Wash. -- Pasco police are making big changes so officers can respond to crimes faster.

To the untrained ear, it's nothing more than routine chatter. But whenever there's static over police radios, valuable seconds are truly lost in translation.

"I've got officers that have to carry spare phones because of something they can't get on the radio," says Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger.

For years, the men and woman watching over Pasco's streets have dealt with outdated radios; equipment that was installed in the 90s and hasn't been replaced since.

The result? Spotty communication when each second matters, possibly delaying the time it takes for police to get to crimes in Pasco's neighborhoods.

To stem that problem, Pasco Police are in the midst of a major overhaul. Soon each radio will be replaced with modern equipment. When that happens, Pasco PD will finally use the same radios as Richland and Kennewick, meaning communication will finally be streamlined on a single system, giving a boost to crime-fighting as a whole.

"Doing it as a single entity is much quicker than doing it as two entities that can't talk to each other on the road," Chief Metzger tells KEPR.

It's a welcomed relief for Erica Gonzalez and anyone else living neighborhoods with regular police patrols.

"The faster they can get to a crime, the sooner they can take care of things," she says.

Money for the new radios will come from both Franklin County and the state. The goal is to have the new system up and running by the end of the year, not only making Pasco's streets safer, but the Tri-Cities as a whole.

Pasco police say emergency response could be cut by up to 40 seconds with the new radios.