WALHALLA, SC — Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless communications provider, has donated 100 pre-programmed, 9-1-1-ready wireless phones to the Oconee County Sheriff's Department for use in county schools.
"Wireless phones are an additional safety resource that provides access to emergency services," said Jerry Fountain, Verizon Wireless' regional president - Carolinas. "Verizon Wireless is proud to assist the Oconee County Sheriff's Department and school district with another tool to keep our students safe."
As part of a recent safety review of county schools, the sheriff's department identified the need for additional forms of communications.
"We are always looking for ways to help ensure the safety of our students, so we recently conducted a review of our schools," said Oconee County Sheriff James Singleton. "As a result, we identified the need for an alternative method of communication should an unexpected event make traditional landline communication an impossibility."
The sheriff's department will divide the phones among the county's 20 elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and alternative learning centers. The size of each school's student population will determine the number of wireless phones it receives.
"We are grateful to Verizon Wireless for providing the wireless phones and to the sheriff's department for coordinating the effort," said Buddy Herring, county superintendent of schools. "Thanks to both organizations, our schools will soon be equipped with wireless phones, enabling them to request help in the event of an emergency."
The donation is not the first for Verizon Wireless. As part of its Hopeline® program, the company has donated more than 750 wireless phones and airtime, and 645 voice mail boxes to domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, neighborhood watch programs, and schools in the Carolinas.
Currently, Verizon Wireless provides service to all patrol cars for the Oconee County Sheriff's Department. It was the only wireless communications provider evaluated capable of providing countywide wireless coverage using three-watt analog portable phones.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.