Problems With DPS Communications System

This week's trial of the man who shot a DPS Trooper shined a light on a communication problem... actually two communication problems for local DPS officers.

"After they leave and you (Trooper Stone) are on your mic initially you calling for Tyler I've been shot help help. Where is that going?" says Matt Bingham, District Attorney of Smith County during trial.

"It goes back to the main communications system but honestly on that particular night because the radios are so poor and often we cannot transmit, on that particular night I actually did not have that with me," says Trooper Steven Stone during trial.

Trooper Stone, shot multiple times, lay in the ditch that night. He had to crawl back to his car to call for help. Who knows what may have happened if he hadn't been able to.

"Depending on where they might be working they can have interference or static as anything else which is why they have their car radio, of course, as the primary," says Trooper Jeanne Dark, DPS spokeswoman.

And there's another problem.

"Is DPS and the Smith County Sheriffs office and Tyler Police Department able to communicate via radio?" says Matt Bingham, District Attorney with Smith County during trial.

"No sir. Smith County Sheriffs Department and Tyler PD are both on different radio systems," says Trooper Steven Stone during trial.

The Sheriff's department and the Police Department are on the same radio system. They have been for more than 10 years.

"We are able to communicate now to 30 different city department, we can talk to the sheriff's department , TISD and TJC police," says Sergeant Darin Grissom, Communications with Tyler Police Department.

Even as agencies responded to help Trooper Stone, Smith County Sheriff's Department and Tyler Police could talk to one another but not with DPS via radio.

"It would be helpful to have a channel that all of the agencies can communicate with each other," says Trooper Jeanne Dark, DPS spokeswoman.

"It would enhance our safety and the safety of our highway patrolmen to know what is going on instead of waiting on our dispatch to relay information to their dispatch to relay to them. It's all about safety," says Sergeant Darin Grissom, Communications with Tyler Police Department.

Trooper Dark says at this time DPS does not have plans to replace their hand held radios or have a system to be able to communicate with the sheriff and police departments.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.