SPRINGDALE (KFSM)- The Springdale City Council approved Tuesday (Aug. 26) the transfer of $310,000 from the salary to the equipment budget. This money will switch the dispatch center from analog to digital.
Dispatchers use an outdated system, said Becky Bacon, communications manager. The 911 call center will buy new equipment and workstation upgrades.
"The new technology makes it ergonomically for them to be here, be able to stand and sit, and they have the option," Bacon said.
Their consoles will be able to rise 48 inches for them to be able to stand, which won't force dispatchers to sit for eight hours.
The center filters calls for the police and fire departments. Once they switch to digital, it will improve their communications system.
"It gives us a cleaner signal," Bacon said. "It offers the opportunity for our officers to hear us better."
Sgt. Jeff Taylor is in charge of the 10 school resource officers. He said they are the only ones in the department who have digital radios because the school district uses a different frequency.
Taylor said the transition, which will take between one to two years, will keep officers safe.
"There are several places in town that our analog system is what they call 'dead spots' and if an officer is there, we can't send out our radio signal," Taylor said. "It becomes a safety issue."
These dead spots has caused some officers to be ex-communicated from the rest of the department, Taylor said.
The upgrades will help the 130 officers in the department feel better when they patrol, according to Taylor.
"The comfort level that when I get on the radio that I know someone is going to be able to hear me because as an officer we know there are certain places we just can't get out on," Taylor said.
Bacon said the transition from analog to digital will make dispatchers' job easier and more efficient.
"We're going from the 80s and 90s into the 21st century," Bacon said.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office is currently making the change from analog to digital and Benton County plans to make the switch in the near future.