ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Police are upgrading their communication system to give and receive information during emergency situations through one channel.
"The ability to communicate can save lives," said Chief Ralph Norton.
It’s been a challenge in the past during major emergencies like fires or natural disasters.
"One of the big disadvantages is not being able to communicate immediately,” Norton said. “If you're not on the same type of system, that's impossible."
But by this summer, Asheboro police will begin using an 800 megahertz VIPER radio system with four channels.
“Each individual officer will have their own radio," Norton said.
Officers will talk directly with other police, EMS and fire departments throughout Randolph County and the state.
Each of the department's 95 officers will wear the walkie-talkie like radios. The radios will also be in more than half of the squad cars.
Randolph County Fire Marshall Rick Davis says for the past 15 to 20 years, information had to go through dispatch which sometimes caused delays.
"This is the first time that we've all been on the same type of radio frequency system," Davis said.
The total cost for the radio plus setting up the system will be about $500,000.
It’s a small price, officials say, when every second counts.