There was no good reason for Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers not to be able to listen to and talk with other police agencies in Jefferson County.
That has changed now that the county's 911 system provided the patrol with 16 radios that are directly tied to police, fire and emergency medical communications in the county. The highway patrol's Steubenville Post recognized the problem, but state leaders were hesitant about putting the radios in troopers' cruisers. Troopers talk to each other and their communication center in St. Clairsville on a closed radio system. The patrol apparently didn't want the "clutter" of other radio communications interfering.
A bit of luck changed that.
Several police agencies on Feb. 6 were looking for a juvenile who stole a car in Mingo Junction and was on foot. The patrol was involved in the search but was having difficulty talking to police officers.
Several members of the state's administration were in Steubenville the next day for Gov. John Kasich's State of the State address, including the heads of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the highway patrol. They were informed of the radio communications problem and the simple solution of putting the 911 radios in troopers' cruisers. They agreed to install the radios.
Kasich has promoted government cooperation on all levels.
It only makes sense.
Officer safety was on the line without the radio communications.
Troopers shouldn't have to rely upon their dispatchers forwarding information to and from the county's 911 system. The time delay can put a police officer or trooper in danger.
The county's 911 system provided the radios and the patrol's technicians did the installation.
The troopers are now able to listen to and talk with police, fire and EMS agencies throughout the county.
Most police departments have patrol cars staffed by only one officer. Smaller communities may only have one cruiser on duty. Troopers also patrol alone in a cruiser. Backing each other up has become a daily routine for police officers and troopers.
Nobody knows what can happen during a traffic stop, a domestic violence call or a break-in report.
Now a trooper on patrol can hear a local police agency make a traffic stop and can swing by or stay in the area in case the local officer needs help or vice versa.
The highway patrol has been increasing patrols on the hilltop areas of Steubenville in response to the gun violence and drug dealing. Talking with city officers is a must for safe patrolling.
The radio cooperation between the highway patrol and the county's 911 system is a win-win for officers, troopers and the general public.