Texarkana area first responders radio system has been in “fail soft” mode for going on six days now.
Bi-State utilizes a radio system known as Motorola Smartnet II. This is a trunking system that takes multiple frequencies and allows users to talk on different talk groups as opposed to setting individual frequencies.
So for example if Dispatch isn’t talking and an officer calls information to run a person for warrants the call will go out over frequency A. If another officer at the time is talking to dispatch the information call will instead use frequency B because A is being used. This allows for more efficient use of radio spectrum.
At the beginning of June the Bi-State Justice Building’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee was told by Motorola that the radio system was 10 years out of date and a new system would cost $8 million with a two year implementation period.
Fail Soft mode places each talk group on a pre assigned frequency. Some of the Arkansas side first responders are currently using the State of Arkansas AWIN (Arkansas Wireless Information Network) digital radio system until bi-state system is repaired. According to Texas side fire fighters their tone system is not working causing them to leave their radios on all day and night with a beep playing every 9 seconds.