Public safety radio system upgrade nearing completion

Radio Tower Site on New Boston Rd. (submitted photo by TTPD)

A $1.1 million upgrade to the Texarkana public safety radio system will be completed by August 1, 2016 and is expected to provide regional communication capability as Texarkana becomes the first municipal participant in the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) statewide radio system.

In addition to providing local digital radio communications for the Texarkana Police and Fire Departments, the upgraded system will connect directly to the existing Texas DPS radio system and the Arkansas Wireless Information Network, which is used by Texarkana, Arkansas.

Captain Michael Henry, TTPD’s Project Manager said, “Because of the close working relationship between Texarkana and neighboring jurisdictions, the ability to communicate to other responders across the region was identified as a critical need from the onset.” In addition to providing that direct means for communication between emergency responders in both states, it also offers a much needed redundancy for both systems.

In the event of a failure on either system, all local responders would continue to have the same level of communication by simply switching to the other system.

The upgraded Texarkana radio tower, which is located on New Boston Road, will continue to provide radio coverage for police and fire departments in Texarkana, Nash, Wake Village, and the east end of Bowie County. The Texas A&M-Texarkana Police Department also uses the radio system.

As part of this project, DPS pledged $850,000 in digital radio equipment to be used toward various infrastructure upgrades at a radio tower on the west end of Bowie County, an area that has historically lacked radio communication for responders. Chief Dan Shiner said, “This is an incredible opportunity for Bowie County to relieve the taxpayers of the full burden of outfitting a new tower on the west end. We are hopeful that Bowie County will take advantage of this much needed upgrade to complete the radio system county wide.”

A $1,150,000 appropriation for the radio system upgrade was approved by the Texarkana Texas City Council on August 24, 2015. The existing analog radio system that is now being replaced is over 15 years old.

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