254 – Radio Control Unit

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I.  Purpose

In order to advance the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) mission and goals, portable radios may be issued to authorized personnel.

II.  Policy

Portable radios assist HCSO personnel with the performance of their duties by providing direct contact with the HCSO Emergency Dispatch Center, and they are considered to be of critical importance to enhancing the safety of HCSO personnel and the citizens of Harris County.

III.  Definitions

Mobile Radio: A base station radio that is normally mounted in the center console of a vehicle or used as a base station in an office environment.

Portable Radio: A handheld radio that is normally carried via a radio holder attached to an employee’s duty rig.

Radio Accessories: Any implement used to support the use and functions of a radio. Accessories include, but are not limited to:

•  Antenna: Used to improve receiving and transmitting capabilities of the radio

•  Base charger (home charger): Plugged into a wall outlet for power

•  Battery: Used to power the portable radio

•  Car charger: Plugged into a direct current (DC) outlet in a vehicle to recharge the battery on a portable radio

•  Carry holster: Includes the carry holster for the radio and the D-ring used to attach the carry holster to the duty rig

•  Lapel microphone: Attached to the portable radio

IV.  Procedures- Issuance of Radios

Radios are assigned to employees and vehicles at the discretion of the Radio Control Unit supervisor or his or her designee based on assignment, operational necessity, or any other determined criteria. No employee has a right to a radio by virtue of his or her position.

1.  Employees, by nature of assignment and responsibilities, may be issued a portable and / or mobile radio.

a.  No employee has any right or entitlement to the use of a radio.

b.  An employee may be denied assignment or continued use of a radio.

2.  If an employee transfers, promotes, resigns, or is terminated, his or her radio shall be returned to the Radio Control Unit.

a.  All applicable accessories shall be returned with the radio.

b.  There are exceptions to a radio being returned to the Radio Control Unit for certain divisions within the department (e.g., SWAT, Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force, OIG / IAD, etc.). Exceptions will be determined by the Radio Control Unit supervisor.

A.  Authorized use is defined as:

1.  Any lawful use during the employee’s scheduled tour of duty;

2.  Use while on scheduled call-out duty, except while on sick leave;

3.  Use when engaged in approved extra employment; and

4.  Any use not defined above, provided it advances the HCSO mission and has been approved by a supervisor.

B.  No HCSO employee shall allow an unauthorized person to use or be in possession of a department radio.

C.  Maintenance and Repair:

If, for any reason, a mobile or portable radio does not appear to be in proper working order, the employee shall contact the Radio Control Unit for proper direction and procedures to correct the possible malfunction or for repair.

NOTE: The employee shall not proceed to the Harris County ITC Radio Shop without prior approval from the Radio Control Unit supervisor or his or her designees.

D.  Lost or Stolen:

If a portable or mobile radio is lost or stolen, the employee shall immediately notify his or her supervisor and generate a lost or stolen county property report.

1.  The supervisor will contact Watch Command to have the radio turned off immediately.

2.  Watch Command will complete this action by contacting the Radio Network Operations Center.

E.  Inventory Control and Authorization:

1.  Except as noted in Section III (E)(2), the Radio Control Unit supervisor or his or her designees are the only persons authorized to have a portable or mobile radio turned off or on.

2.  Full cooperation is required by an employee or division when contacted by the Radio Control Unit for verification of assignment of radio and accessories.


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

March 10, 2016

June 28, 2021

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