Patrick & Henry Community College improves communication system to enhance security on campus

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 5:21 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Patrick & Henry Community College will soon get new equipment that will help increase safety on campus.

This comes after receiving a $33,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice.

“Our main objective here on campus is the safety of our faculty, staff and students,” said Reggie Gravely, Patrick and Henry Community College Police Sergeant. “So, an upgrade has been needed on our radio system for communication purposes. I’m just ecstatic that we were able to get this grant to pursue the efforts in keeping the campus safe.”

The funds will allow them to purchase new two-way radios for campus police and Campus Community Emergency Response Team members.

They applied for the grant after finding some flaws in their six-year-old communication system.

“This allows for a little bit more expeditious communication,” said Greg Hodges, President of Patrick & Henry Community College. “With the previous equipment, there were a couple of dead spots on campus where if you were standing in this exact location, you may not have been able to connect back to the center. This alleviates all of that.”

The new technology will have longer battery life, improve communication with the 911 dispatch center and eliminate “dead zones” on campus.

“If we have a tornado warning or active shooter event and there’s people in a different building than this one and the radio doesn’t pick up properly, we can’t communicate with each other to see where the perpetrator is or where they’re going. Hopefully, with the new radios, it’ll eliminate those issues with the dead spots that we have since we’re upgrading,” added Sergeant Gravely.

Although Patrick & Henry Community College has little to no crime on campus, they make it a priority to be prepared.

“We take our campus safety for our faculty, our staff, and our students extremely seriously. We prepare all year long for these kinds of situations. We pray that we never have to enact them. But if we do, then our staff is well trained well equipped and will prepare to enact accordingly,” said Hodges.