Hobbs Officials Call for Action To Protect Emergency Responders During Dangerous Situations

Hobbs Officials Call for Action To Protect Emergency Responders During Dangerous Situations

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

HOBBS/LEA COUNTY - After last week's standoff at a Hobbs apartment complex, city officials are calling for improvements in their communication system.

They want to make sure the wrong people aren't listening in when they're dealing with a dangerous situation.

Last week's standoff ended early Wednesday after more than six hours of negotiations and gunfire. According to city officials, this incident only highlighted the need to further protect law enforcement with encryption equipment for radio communication.

"We have purchased it and we need to deploy it. The call for action is now," said Hobbs City Manager, JJ Murphy.

The City of Hobbs and Lea County partnered up and purchased over $1 million worth of P25 encryption equipment to prevent the wrong ears from hearing tactical strategies from emergency responders.

"Encryption technology will allow police and fire to operate without having any individual with a scanner to be able to hear what kind of tactical operations and decisions are being made on a police or fire scene," Murphy said.

The problem is one more tower needs to be built in Lovington in order for the equipment to work properly, as the technology runs on a simultaneous system that requires all towers to be up and running.

"That's been disappointing that our officers aren't given the best equipment. Even though we've paid for it, it hasn't been utilized yet," said Murphy.

Other big cities already utilize this technology. Murphy says it's about time they jumped on board too, to protect emergency responders.

The county is taking action at the board level this week and the city will act next week at their board meeting.

Murphy hopes all paperwork will be done by the end of the month.

"It's a tactical advantage for them and they deserve it. So I'm gonna keep talking about it until it happens," he added.