Statewide Digital Emergency Communication One Step Closer to Reality

JULY 14, 2004 - Posted at 8:02 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - An overhaul of the state's emergency communications systems has been approved by an Arkansas Legislative Council committee.

The goal is to have a digital statewide communications network that should allow all of Arkansas' emergency workers to talk with each other at will.  Members of a legislative panel agreed Tuesday to spend $27.3 million on the plan, called the Arkansas Wireless Information Network.  The measure goes before the full council on Friday.

Three counties...Craighead, Miller and Lonoke, will act as pilot projects for the plan.

The network would work from existing state police digital communications systems.  Each county will receive money to buy its own equipment, which must be digital.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)