City Planning to Replace Public Safety Radio System


Tonight Texarkana, Texas City Council will have a first briefing on a resolution to replace the current public safety radio and computer aided dispatching system with a new Motorola system for an amount not to exceed nine million dollars.

In a letter to Texas Police Chief Dan Shiner, Captain Michael Henry said, “the existing analog radio system is eighteen years old. Motorola can no longer guarantee part availability of the SMARTNET system.”

Denton County, Texas recently purchased the same system after a committee evaluated several options.

Henry said, “since time is not on our side and the need for a new system is urgent, reliance on the Denton County study is prudent.”

“In speaking with Denton County recently, the installation and implementation process has been progressing smoothly and on schedule,” continues Henry.

Although a recent report by NBCDFW makes one wonder how smoothly.



Letters from Texarkana, Texas Fire Department and Bowie County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy also support the new system.

There will be a public hearing November 10 followed by a second briefing November 24 with the council vote being December 8.

What follows is a list of complaints and problems listed by TTPD Captain Michael Henry and Ryan Durham, Information Service Manager for CRC .

  • Alarm Permit Tracking/Billing – Odyssey does not have a module track alarm permits. Currently TTPD uses an in house system that is not available for officers in the field. Having this functionality would be a valuable resource in the field and reduce the time spent search for owner contact information.
  • CID Case Management – Odyssey does not have the ability to efficiently track cases that are managed by CID. Solvability, classification, case work load, case status, assignment, and general management are not available in Odyssey. Currently, case management is handled manually via a paper trail.
  • Property Management – Odyssey does have the ability to log property into the system but does not have sufficient means to track location/status. It also lacks basic and chain of custody reporting required to efficiently manage property
  • Citations – Odyssey does not have a module for citations. TTPD currently writes paper tickets which are then manually entered into the court system. Once entered, the PD no longer has access to those tickets and has to request information on final disposition (outcome) from the court.
  • Use of force management – Odyssey lacks the ability to track use of force statistics. TTPD currently uses a 3rd party system.
  • Intelligence tracking – The system is not capable of tracking or searching information that could be valuable to law enforcement.
  • Sex Offender Registration – Odyssey has the ability to note whether a person is a sex offender but does not provide a way to determine level of risk or the original conviction that led to sex offender registration.
  • Racial Profiling Reports – Odyssey does not provide reporting for racial profile statistics. These reports are required by the State of Texas and are currently tabulated manually. This is inefficient and time consuming, leaving opportunity for serious error.
  • Impound Tracking _– _Odyssey does not have a method to track impounds. TPS CAD has the ability track impounds through the wrecker module. However, the wrecker module does not function properly and Tyler thus far has been unable to resolve this issue. Impounds are currently tracked using an in house system.
  • Reporting – Odyssey does an acceptable job gathering information but lacks statistical analysis and reporting that would be beneficial for an agency the size of TTPD. Currently most reporting is generated manually and there is a time delay in getting much needed statistical information.
  • Automatic Mutual Aid Response – Despite many implementation hours dedicated towards mutual aid, Tyler was unable to make it work. We may have a solution to work around this deficiency but it requires rebuilding a good portion of the unit allocation.
  • Disappearing Calls – In a recent development, open calls have disappeared while the system was under heavy call load. Once we hit 60 open calls dispatch noticed calls missing.
  • Comments Missing – Comments that were entered into a call sometimes disappear.
  • Multiple Unit Assignments to the Same Call (Under Review) – If two dispatchers add units to a call at the same time only some of units are successfully assigned. For example, if you have five fire trucks being assigned to a call by one dispatch and another dispatcher adds a police unit, the fire units do not get placed on the call. This affects safety, accountability, and response time.
  • LETs Issues (State Returns) – The CAD system lacks the capability to perform State lookups from both the Arkansas and Texas system. Tyler has confirmed that it will not work in Dispatch, but has taken steps to make it work in the mobiles. We recently attempted to bring both systems online and it still did not work and exhibited the same problems we had at Go-live.


All the letters can be viewed in this weeks city council agenda packet –

Resolution No. 2014-131 authorizing the City Manager to enter into a municipal lease purchase agreement with Motorola Solutions for the purchase and installation of a public safety communications system, to include a computer aided dispatch system and a records management system, through an interlocal agreement with Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) in a total amount not to exceed NINE MILLION AND NO/100 DOLLARS ($9,000,000) and authorizing discontinuance of appropriations for purchasing, leasing, operating, or maintaining the current public safety radio and computer aided dispatching system

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