(WHBC) – First responders from across Stark County gathered at the Stark County Safety Building to celebrate the implementation of the county’s new radio communications system.

Sheriff George Maier says the Stark/MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications System) will enable all first responders in the county to communicate with each other as well as other responders across the state.

“The ability for safety forces to communicate directly, one-on-one, without fragmented communications could save lives, and we believe it will save lives,” the sheriff said.

One example he gave is when a fire department requests mutual aid — the new system will allow the new firefighters arriving on the scene to easily start communicating with the personnel already there.

He says this type of system may have even saved the life of Massillon Police Officer Eric Taylor, who was shot and killed while exchanging gunfire with a suspect in August of 2002.

He says Officer Taylor wasn’t able to communicate firsthand with the state highway patrol, and didn’t know that the suspect opened fire on the trooper.

“The information that was relayed was fragmented and we did not get the information in a timely manner that the suspect had a gun, which may have led to the loss of Officer Taylor.

The money covering the cost of the new radio system comes from a sales tax that voters approved, and Commissioner Janet Creighton applauded Stark County residents for giving themselves this potentially life-saving gift.

Stark County Sheriff George Maier cutting the ribbon on the county’s new radio system, which will allow all first responders in the county to communicate with each other, increasing safety for the public and first responders and potentially saving lives.

Posted by News-Talk 1480 WHBC on Monday, January 28, 2019