(Frankfort, Ky.) —On April 1, Kentucky State Police telecommunicators started providing dispatching service to 131 Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) Conservation Officers throughout the state.
According to Lt. Col. Jack Miniard, director of the KSP Operations Division, KDFWR approached KSP last fall regarding the new arrangement. “Conservation officers across the state were being dispatched from a central location in Frankfort,” he said. “They wanted to dispatch their officers from local KSP posts to enhance local law enforcement interaction and enhance safety for their officers.”
With a proven network of telecommunicators already in place at 16 posts throughout the state and one headquarters location, KSP was a logical and economical choice to provide communication services for KDFWR’s nine districts. “Communication distances are shorter and since KSP dispatchers live and work in the areas, they have better knowledge of the specific areas,” explains Miniard.
A pilot program initiated at KSP Post 15 in Columbia during February of this year to evaluate the arrangement went well. With a little extra training on KDFWR codes and procedures, KSP telecommunicators rose to the challenge and post technicians installed radios and vehicle repeaters in 140 KDFWR trucks and 60 boats.
“The new arrangement is a big win for all,” notes Miniard. “It enhances conservation officer safety and provides more situational awareness between KSP and KDFWR in the field, which has mutual benefits for officers of both agencies.”
KDFWR is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. Its officers patrol fields, forest lands, streams, lakes and rivers enforcing state and federal hunting, fishing and boating laws throughout the Commonwealth for resource protection and public safety. They also conduct drowning investigations, investigate and reconstruct boating accidents and perform rescue duties.
KSP employs 163 telecommunicators throughout the state. In 2013, they answered a total of 529,179 requests for assistance. Often called the “unsung heroes of public safety,” these men and women provide a lifeline to both citizens in need and officers in the field. They serve as an unseen, but vital link in keeping law enforcement officers and the public safe at all times of the day or night.