Burnet County Sheriff’s Office to upgrade portable radios with grant

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative representatives presented a $22,487 grant Jan. 9 to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office for new portable radios. Pictured are BCSO Chief Deputy Mike Cummings (left), LCRA board member George Russell, BCSO Capt. Chris Jett, BCSO Sgt. Russell Kneese, Burnet County Commissioner Jim Luther, Burnet County Commissioner Russell Graeter, Burnet County Judge James Oakley, BCSO Sheriff Calvin Boyd, PEC Director of Community Engagement Trista Fugate, Burnet County Commissioner Billy Wall, LCRA Governmental and Regional Affairs Rep. Steve Dyer, and Burnet County Commissioner Joe Don Dockery. Courtesy photo

Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative representatives presented a $22,487 grant Jan. 9 to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office for new portable radios. Pictured are BCSO Chief Deputy Mike Cummings (left), LCRA board member George Russell, BCSO Capt. Chris Jett, BCSO Sgt. Russell Kneese, Burnet County Commissioner Jim Luther, Burnet County Commissioner Russell Graeter, Burnet County Judge James Oakley, BCSO Sheriff Calvin Boyd, PEC Director of Community Engagement Trista Fugate, Burnet County Commissioner Billy Wall, LCRA Governmental and Regional Affairs Rep. Steve Dyer, and Burnet County Commissioner Joe Don Dockery. Courtesy photo

BURNET — A Lower Colorado River Authority grant has opened the door for the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office to begin replacing its obsolete portable radios with state-of-the-art equipment.

LCRA, along with Pedernales Electric Cooperative, presented a grant of more than $22,000 to the sheriff’s office on Jan. 9. The funds come through the LCRA’s Development Partnership Program in cooperation with PEC.

The sheriff’s office will use the money, along with $5,600 in matching funds, to replace 13 portable radios, which are considered outdated and unreliable. This is in step with Burnet County’s tower equipment upgrade funded with a recent Capital Area Council of Governments’ grant.

“Our sheriff’s office was way behind in regards to technology,” Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd said. “We’re having to upgrade everything from the office equipment to vehicles to our communications (dispatch).”

County officials said the grant also eases the burden on the budget.

“Whenever we’re able to be awarded grants such as these, it takes care of essential needs, and tax dollars do not have to be used to fulfill those needs,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said.

The LCRA program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, and other nonprofit organizations.

“LCRA places a high priority on public safety,” Boyd said. “They’ve helped a lot of other agencies in the past.

“We’re glad we’re the ones they chose this time,” he added.

The grant comes on the heels of a $1.8 million grant awarded to Burnet County from CAPCOG to upgrade an aging tower system.

CAPCOG is a state funding entity serving a 10-county rural area that includes Burnet, Blanco, Llano, Travis, and Williamson counties.

“It all ties together,” said Oakley, regarding the communication upgrades. “It’s all about having the compatibility with the rest of the region.

“That is the goal: to make sure there is connectivity,” he added.

Applications for the next round of LCRA grants are due by Jan. 31 for those in LCRA’s wholesale market area.

For more information, go to lcra.org.

connie@thepicayune.com

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