Last week, Monett police and firefighters brought their portable radios in for adjustments. All the radios have now transferred from broad band to narrow band usage.
Bonnie Witt-Schulte, dispatching supervisor, said the transition was planned. New radios were purchased last year using grant money from Homeland Security, and these radios were all P-25 compliant. The new radios could be reprogrammed from the old frequency to the new one.
Federal law mandates all emergency responders transfer to narrow band usage by the end of 2012.
According to Witt-Schulte, the process involved adding one digit to the three-digit frequency already licensed to the city. Commercial scanners owned by the public set to the first three numbers of both the old and new frequencies should continue to provide reception.
A more difficult transition will come in transferring the city's storm sirens to the narrow band. Witt-Schulte said new equipment is needed to allow narrow band reception to trigger the sirens. This equipment may cost as much as $2,000 per siren, depending on the age of the unit.
Switching the storm sirens over will have to wait for the city's 2012-13 fiscal year, which begins April 1, 2012, Witt-Schulte added.