Marion Fire, Police need to borrow some airwaves

Marion Fire, Police need to borrow some airwaves

City hoping to get approval for temporary use of radio tower

Marion police and fire officials are hoping the Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN) will approve their request to allow 80 new radios to use their cell tower until Motorola can erect a new one to accommodate them.

Fire Chief Woody Wheeless told the City Council that Motorola would be meeting with AWIN regulators in Little Rock on Sept.

5 (yesterday) to discuss their request.

“We’ll know that afternoon or the next morning whether they granted permission to get on the system,” Wheeless said.

Marion recently ordered 41 new radios for the police department and 41 for the fire department from Motorola but was told by the provider that it could take six months to get the tower up.

Wheeless said they originally asked AWIN to add 120 units to the system but were turned down. AWIN has a tower in Shell Lake but told the city they could not accommodate that many radios.

The new request is to just add 80 hand held radios temporarily to the AWIN tower.

“We got rejected early to be on the AWIN system,” Wheeless said. “So we’re going back with a different proposal for the police and fire department to strictly hand-helds only until our system is up. With the sheriff’s department we had about 200 radios on it, So we’re cutting that down to about 85 units.”

Motorola has over 100 AWIN towers in Arkansas.

The towers provide better radio reception and allow law enforcement and fire departments to communicate with over 900 local, state, and federal agencies who are also on AWIN.

Wheeless said he is confident AWIN will accommodate their request this time. “The man from AWIN contacted me and said it does have the capacity to handle what we are asking,” Wheeless said.

“Let’s hope they will look favorably,” added Mayor Frank Fogleman. “Maybe they will let us.”

By Mark Randall