Dispute between Cole County Sheriff and Jefferson City Police Chief could impact public safety

Sheriff and Chief at odds over county's recent upgrade to new radio equipment

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A dispute between the Cole County Sheriff and the Jefferson City Police Chief over communication technology has at least one claiming public safety may be negatively impacted.

ABC 17 News obtained letters between the sheriff and chief and discovered Cole County commissioners are stepping in to moderate for the two agencies.

A couple weeks ago, Jefferson City announced the dispatch center would be shut down temporarily so a power supply could be replaced.

The Cole County Sheriff's Department recently spent $300,000 in state grants to upgrade to MOSWIN -- Missouri Statewide Wireless Interoperable Network -- radios in order to be compatible with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Capitol Police.

The JCPD did not, and since the upgrade, deputies and officers have not been able to communicate car-to-car. However, the two agencies share the dispatch center.

The temporary dispatch center at the mall does not have the capability to use the MOSWIN radio equipment. That means Cole County deputies would be without communications during the maintenance.

In letters that ABC 17 News obtained, JCPD Chief Roger Schroeder said public safety is negatively impacted by the lack of car-to-car communication.

He went on to say this could have been easily avoided had the county consulted with the city before it upgraded its radio equipment.

However, in this technological age, it's unclear why the city did not take advantage of state grants to update its equipment. The current radios will have to eventually be switched to digital ones and communication with the Highway Patrol is nonexistent.

ABC 17's Daniel Winn reached out to Jefferson City police, but nobody was available to go on camera to comment.

Cole County Sheriff Greg White told ABC 17 News he will comment on the situation, but will wait for a meeting scheduled for August 28. That meeting will include the city, county commissioners and the sheriff.

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