Randolph County to revamp E-911 system to help first responders

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 7:13 PM CDT
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POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - Major changes are in store for the Randolph County E-911 system.

The county is hoping to change its radio system and how first responders communicate to dispatch.

The current radio system will change to the Arkansas Wireless Information Network. Sheriff Kevin Bell said an estimate to fix the current radio system wasn’t justifiable.

“Our current system was going to cost about $1.8 million to fix it and to get it operational to where it should be. That was not feasible to do that. Switching over to the AWIN system were looking at around $250,000,” he said.

Randolph County’s current system has had some problems over the last few years.

“There’s parts of the county where it just doesn’t work. It’s very, very hard to get portable radios to work properly. If you’re inside a building, they just don’t work at all, and that’s an officer safety issue,” he said.

Not only will the upgrade be cheaper, but it will upgrade communication across the county.

“When we have a major event, we have state agencies come in to assist us, they’re on the system right now. In order for us to communicate with other agencies at the state level, we have to be on that system as well,” Bell said.

The county will also bring new computer software, easing how first responders receive crucial details.

“A CAD system will make it a lot more efficient to get the information to the first responders in the field, whether it be fire, EMS, or police. To get that information to them quickly, efficiently, and accurately, but most important, accurately,” he said.

Sheriff Bell said at the end of the day, it is all about protecting the citizens of Randolph County.

“This is giving the citizens of Randolph County the best product that we could possibly afford to give them and that we can give them. It’s all about the safety of our citizens,” he said.

The new radio system will cost $231,000, and the new software program will total $167,885.