The Brazos County (TX) Sheriff’s Office has subscribed to FirstNet. “This is a big move that will help us stay connected to the critical information we need, so we can better serve the residents and guests of Brazos County,” the agency says.
FirstNet is the country’s first-ever nationwide public safety broadband network being built by the First Responder Network Authority and AT&T. “It’s purpose-built for first responders to give us a reliable, high-speed and always-on network connection. This is a game-changer, giving our communications capabilities a major boost. FirstNet helps us address potential rural coverage gaps and, in times of network congestion, prioritize first responder communications when football fans head to Kyle Field,” the agency says.
“It’s absolutely thrilling to have a dedicated public safety broadband network,” says Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk. “We’re still doing the same job. But with FirstNet, we can do it even better and faster than before. We have all the information we need at our fingertips, backed by the connectivity needed to access it. And most importantly, it keeps our deputies out in the neighborhoods, so we can spend more time serving Brazos County.”
Kirk says the the top 3 benefits of FirstNet that his agency has experienced are:
Improved Efficiency – FirstNet gives us near-instant access to the critical information we need. We no longer have to call dispatch or head back to the office to run a license plate or criminal history check. We can do it all ourselves, right from our vehicles.
Expanded Capabilities – FirstNet enables us to use data in a new way. This gives us new capabilities that expand beyond what we’ve ever had. For example, we can livestream what our patrol vehicles are looking at and push that to dispatch, other vehicles or the Emergency Operations Center. When you have a prioritized system built for public safety, you can use a lot more of the tools out there.
Enhanced Situational Awareness – FirstNet gives us near real-time insight into what’s happening, and that has the power to keep us safer and smarter. Our Command Center can tap into a patrol vehicle’s livestream to see first-hand what’s going on. This allows our field officers to focus on the situation versus providing manual updates.
“We’re the first local agency in Texas to officially adopt the nationwide public safety network. But we’ve been using the service for a while now through our collaboration with Harris County on its FirstNet early build project. As an early builder, we worked with Harris County to implement the new technology, experiment with it, learn best practices and put it to the test during life-threatening incidents,” the agency says
From everyday operations to crisis situations, FirstNet proved its value, according to Kirk. During two very different situations – a major flood and a standoff with an armed suspect – the agency’s field officers positioned their vehicles to livestream what was happening back to the Command Center. “We were able to capture different stages of the flooding or different views of the building to best assess the situation, make a plan and create the best outcome possible,” the agency sayd
“The Brazos County Sheriff’s Office has embraced this innovative technology, and now, with FirstNet, Brazos County can provide a level of service to its residents that is second to none,” says Texas Department of Public Safety Director of Communications Todd Early. “We are proud of Brazos County for leading the way with this critical new technology, and by sharing lessons learned, they will also help fellow first responder agencies across the state modernize and enhance their life-saving capabilities as well. As we look ahead to what’s next for Texas, we know that Governor Abbott’s decision to opt-in to the FirstNet network will help bring these same capabilities to first responders throughout Texas.”
Kirk says, “FirstNet is helping us perform at the highest levels. It’s multiplying our capabilities and efficiencies. And this is just the beginning. There’s a bright future ahead for emergency response.”
To learn more about the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, go to brazoscountysheriff.org.