Bamberg, South Carolina (June 2022) – On Tuesday, June 1, 2022, the Bamberg County Government, sheriff’s department, local municipalities, and law enforcement agencies switched to a new digital emergency radio system that replaces the county’s antiquated analog system.
"Most of the county’s current infrastructure is over 50 years old and the county has added to the system over the years to meet the needs of our first responders," said Spencer Donaldson, Chairman of the Bamberg County Council. "The radio is a critical piece of equipment for our first responders and it will provide a dependable and quality radio system that will enhance the safety of our citizens as well as our first responders."
The South Carolina State wide 800 MHz Radio and Mobile Data System, known commonly as Palmetto 800, is a cost-shared public/private partnership between state government, local governments, power utilities and Motorola Solutions, Inc.
The goals of the shared Palmetto 800 system are to provide public safety grade statewide coverage, enhance statewide interoperability and provide agencies with a superior communications technology at economical price to meet their public safety communications needs.
In operation since 1992, the network continues to expand and evolve to meet public safety responder needs. Today, the Palmetto 800 network is one of the largest shared statewide radio networks in the nation with over 50,000 users. Over 850 agencies representing state government, federal government, local government, law enforcement agencies, fire services, EMS services, and power utilities in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia currently participate in the shared, statewide 800 MHz radio network.
Bamberg County Sheriff Kenneth Bamberg outlined improvements he’s making in the department during a recent county council meeting.
"We were operating off of the old 400 radio system. That was a nightmare for law enforcement in Bamberg County…It is an officer safety issue, and it needed to be addressed," he said.
"We fixed that problem based on the graciousness of the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, where we were able to not only get the sheriff’s office up and running on 800 radios, we were also able to do dispatch and … code enforcement for less than $10,000."
The Bamberg County sheriff’s office works with the Bamberg, Denmark and Ehrhardt police departments, along with the Denmark Technical College Department of Public Safety, in sharing resources.
Joey Preston, the Bamberg County Administrator, stated the county government was committed to improving the emergency communications system and was very excited about the enhanced system.
"The transition to the Palmetto 800 system not only improves the services that we are able to provide to the citizens of Bamberg County in emergencies, but enhances our telecommunications infrastructure for greater efficiently and reliability in regard to public safety."
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