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State police dispatch conservation officers

Staff report

Kentucky State Police telecommunicators began this month providing dispatching service to 131 Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources conservation officers throughout the state, KSP announced Thursday.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources officers patrol fields, forest lands, streams, lakes and rivers to enforce state and federal hunting, fishing and boating laws. The officers also investigate drownings and boating incident and perform rescues.

The department approached KSP about dispatch services last fall, according to KSP Operations Division Director Lt. Col. Jack Miniard.

"Conservation officers across the state were being dispatched from a central location in Frankfort." Miniard said. "They wanted to dispatch their officers from local KSP posts to enhance local law enforcement interaction and enhance safety for their officers."

With a network of telecommunicators already in place at 16 posts throughout the state and one headquarters location, KSP was deemed a logical and economical choice to provide communication services for the department's nine districts.

"Communication distances are shorter and, since KSP dispatchers live and work in the areas, they have better knowledge of the specific areas," Miniard said.

A pilot program initiated in February at KSP Post 15 in Columbia to evaluate the arrangement went well, according to state police.

KSP telecommunicators received training on the department's codes and procedures, and post technicians installed radios and vehicle repeaters in 140 of the department's trucks and 60 of its boats.

"The new arrangement is a big win for all," Miniard said. "It enhances conservation officer safety and provides more situational awareness between KSP and KDFWR in the field, which has mutual benefits."

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