The local sheriff’s department shares its experience with the FirstNet dedicated public safety broadband network.
by Melissa Delaney
Brazos County, Texas got its first glimpse into the future in 2010. Police Sgt. Josh Hearen attended a demonstration for the nation’s first public safety broadband network in neighboring Harris County, a First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet) Early Builder.
“Josh planted the seed here that maybe we could work off that core antenna and test some of the devices,” recalls Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk. Harris County loaned them six devices, and the test proved successful. Within a few years, Brazos County was operating on band class 14 — the public safety spectrum — and continued until November 2017, when Texas opted into FirstNet. “We started the project the week of Thanksgiving,” says Kirk, and they haven’t looked back.