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In the News

Interoperable communication systems help save two lives and apprehend suspect

Thursday, August 07, 2014

When two visitors to Horseshoe Bay in Llano County sustained serious injuries from an attacker in June, communication teams responded with a number of regional tools to save their lives and apprehend their suspected attacker.

Response to the incident used technology developed through the cooperation of CAPCOG members. The technology helped 9-1-1 dispatchers communicate with a non-English speaker and allowed police officers to arrest a suspect more than 80 miles away from the crime scene while investigations were still under way.

On June 10, the Marble Falls Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from an address in Horseshoe Bay. The seriously injured caller did not speak English, but the 9-1-1 operator quickly linked the caller to the Language Line translation service. The service, which is available through the regional 9-1-1 system, assists 9-1-1 center operators with translation when processing a call.

The caller spoke German and provided critical details to the 9-1-1 operator, enabling rapid dispatch of Horseshoe Bay police, fire and emergency medical services. Fire and EMS units staged at a safe location until police arrived and secured the scene. Due to the severity of the injuries, requests were made for additional EMS units and the support of Air Evac and STAR Flight for patient transport.

> Read more about 9-1-1 technology

While medical assistance was being summoned, information about a possible suspect was disseminated to regional law enforcement agencies. Personnel from the Horseshoe Bay Police Department, Marble Falls Police Department, Llano County Sheriff’s Office, Burnet County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety used a regional law enforcement talk-group on the newly implemented Western Region Radio System to communicate. This allowed multiple units from several agencies to coordinate their efforts and receive real-time updates about a possible suspect.

The 9-1-1 center processed additional calls for suspicious activity, and field units searched for and made contact with vehicles matching the suspect’s description. Upon learning the suspect was likely en route to a residence in Bastrop County, personnel at the Combined Transportation and Emergency Communications Center in Austin were contacted. They connected the talk group being used by law enforcement agencies in Horseshoe Bay with a regional talk group on the Greater Austin-Travis County Regional Radio System, The connection enabled law enforcement agencies in Llano and Burnet counties to talk directly to their Bastrop County counterparts.

The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office used information from personnel in Llano County to locate the suspect and possible evidence related to the attack at a Bastrop residence.

While police apprehended the suspect, EMS personnel used the regional radio system to communicate with fire department personnel and the Air Evac and STAR Flight staff to coordinate treatment and transport the victims to University Medical Center-Brackenridge in Austin.

> Discover more about CAPCOG's Communications Interoperability Planning

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