Colorado statewide communications system expands to the San Luis Valley

June 1, 2005
Alamosa County is the first of six counties in the San Luis Valley area to be connected to Colorado’s statewide digital trunked radio system, provided by Motorola engineers in Schuamberg, Ill.

By John McHale

ALAMOSA, Colo.-Alamosa County is the first of six counties in the San Luis Valley area to be connected to Colorado’s statewide digital trunked radio system, provided by Motorola engineers in Schuamberg, Ill. Equipment is currently being deployed throughout the six county area on the state’s western slope.

Funding for the expansion into Alamosa County comes from federal Homeland Security grants. The state recently earmarked $13 million out of the Energy Impact Assistance Fund to assist in the build-out of a digital trunked radio system.

Through a partnership with the State of Colorado, the counties of Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache joined together as a region and applied for Homeland Security grants to bring the Colorado Digital Trunked Radio System into their area. The grants awarded to the State of Colorado and the San Luis Valley All Hazards Region were approved for a total of $4.4 million. The grant monies enabled the area to purchase radio site equipment and 630 mobile and portable radios for first responders in the San Luis Valley All Hazards region, and to upgrade the Colorado State Patrol dispatch center. Antenna sites have been installed and the Colorado State Patrol dispatch center has been upgraded. The mobile and portable radios are currently being deployed.

“Having six counties come together and team up to join in on the strength of the statewide digital network is why the San Luis Valley was successful in securing 2004 Homeland Security funding,” says Jeff Babcock, homeland security project coordinator, San Luis Valley All-Hazards Emergency Management Region. “Without Homeland Security funding, local responders would have never been able to join the statewide network.”

While Alamosa County is the first to go online, Motorola equipment will be installed and turned on in the other counties in the San Luis Valley All Hazards Region over the next several months. Installation is expected to be complete early this fall.

When completed, the agencies in the region will operate their mission-critical communications on a state-of-the-art digital radio system that also is capable of data transmissions for mobile computers in first responder vehicles.

“Radio interoperability between multiple jurisdictions is critical to homeland security, emergency response, and citizen safety,” Babcock says. “It is one of the biggest hurdles we have been able to overcome. The San Luis Valley region has applied for additional 2005 Homeland Security funds to complete this important project.”

The statewide system currently includes a state-of-the-art 800-MHz digital Motorola trunked radio system with 93 radio sites and nine public safety dispatch centers with Motorola Gold Elite dispatch consoles to manage communications around the state. Currently, the system serves all state agencies and more than 200 local public safety agencies on both sides of the Continental Divide-with more than 18,000 individual radios in use by agencies as diverse as the Montrose Police Department to Greeley Police Department, fire departments, and state agencies such as the Colorado State Patrol, Division of Wildlife, Corrections, and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Built on a shared 800-MHz communications system first installed in Douglas and Jefferson counties in 1998, the system now provides coverage for all of eastern Colorado. There are 29 counties (mostly on the western slope) that still need to be added to the statewide system. Preliminary work to get those counties online is expected to begin this year with a $13 million grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for radio infrastructure.

For more information visit www.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!