New police radios in Boca make it easier to help

Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 28, 2016

In any emergency, communication is critical. Soon first responders Boca Raton will be using a new radio system and a state-of-the-art dispatch center, which means they can better help you when you need them.

Bryan Gunty said he'd never seen a flood like the one he saw Thursday night outside his Boca Raton home.

"Cars get stranded and people need help," he remembered.

He said in emergencies like that, he wants to make sure police and fire can get to him quickly. 

"Hopefully catch any problems before it escalates into something else," he pointed out.

Last week, the city council approved spending about $3.5 million over the next 15 years to upgrade the radios police officers and firefighters use.

The new system will be compatible with the one the Sheriff's Office and county fire department uses. Boynton Beach and Delray Beach are also upgrading to the system, according to Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie. 

The change makes it easier for first responders to talk directly with other agencies, thus improving the response to emergency situations when every second counts.

"It's going to be much more effective to communicate with them directly," explained Officer Sandra Boonenberg, with the Boca Raton Police Services Department. 

She said the changes will make a big difference during floods, or other large-scale disasters.

Other plans include doubling and relocating Boca Raton's dispatch center and hiring more dispatchers. Haynie hopes it can reduce response times. 

"If you don't have safety and security, your community really has nothing," the mayor said. "It really effects everyone's quality of life."

Gunty said that improved communication will make him and others in this community feel safer.

The police department is raising the base salaries for dispatchers to attract applicants who will stay for a long time. Here is the new breakdown:

Supervisor - $48K - $81K

Dispatcher - $44K - $74K

Call Taker - $39K - $65K

For information on how to apply, click here.