Blytheville police and fire upgrading radios

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Blytheville's Police and Fire Committee discussed updating their radio system.

According to Police Chief Ross Thompson and Fire Chief Mike Carney, radio communications are the backbone of emergency services.

Thompson said the plans for an upgrade started four or five years ago after some FCC regulation changes.

However, he said the police department decided it would be best to involve the Blytheville Fire Department in this communication upgrade.

Thompson said they are currently working on combining their channels and equipment, along with working on a plan to build their own network with other emergency responders in the city.

"Our city does not have not one primary emergency channel," Thompson said. "We have our main channel. Chief Carney has his main channel. What we would like to be able to do, by combining this equipment together, is to be able to establish primary emergency channels that all departments, emergency and non-emergency, can switch over to in time of need."

Carney said his department is currently utilizing the equipment they already have; so they won't have a significant expense moving forward. However, he said they plan to take advantage of the upgrades that are out there.

"Other city departments can come on board with this," he said. "It will be a great time for them to come into this system. We'll be able to have multiple channels that all the city can be on board with."

Carney also said upgrading their repeaters will be very beneficial in a time of disaster.

"All resources will be pulled," he said. "Right now we're talking about on a city level, but the county level will go from here...communication is the starting point and the vital part of litigating any kind of incident."

Chief Thompson said this project will take a couple of months to complete.

However, both departments agreed that having this upgrade will be very beneficial to every first-hand responder in the Blytheville.

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