CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) – Conway city leaders say their emergency radio system is outdated and aging and it needs to be replaced.
Mayor Tab Townsell tells THV the current police and fire radios are 10 years old, and he hopes to soon replace them with new radios compatible with the statewide AWIN system. "You can project end of life for systems like this so we need to update them every now and then," said Townsell. "There is an ongoing risk. It's failed and we've been able to patch it back together."
Lloyd Hartzell, the city's IT director, tells THV the radios have failed on emergency calls including a recent structure fire. But compared to cities like Little Rock, the radios are relatively new. The LRPD bought new radios in January for the first time in more than 20 years. Mayor Townsell says even though the radios are only 10 years old, the entire system needs to be replaced. "We weren't able to get the full life out of the last investment that we thought," he added. "But the actual radio tower system dates back into the early 1990's if not earlier."
THV spoke with a number of Conway residents about the issue and most are supportive of the investment. "If it's going to make them safer then it's a good idea to go ahead and get the equipment necessary to keep them up to date," said Jeff Greer. "Our system may be ten years old but it's already outdated. It was outdated two years ago."