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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:09 pm
Posts: 31
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Voters approved it. Now, emergency communications officials say it’s paying off. But despite their size and impact, you may not even know they are there or how they are helping locals.

This ordinary tower is part of a system with extraordinary capabilities – the potential to save a life.

“It greatly has increased public safety in our area,” said Sandoval County Fire Chief James Maxon.

Before the new radio system, dispatchers and emergency responders in the field had a hard time sending and receiving radio messages.

“We had firefighters within the building who were not able to get out of the building and call for help or radio for additional units,” explained Maxon.

Chief Maxon is also the Chairman of the Sandoval County. He says stations missed calls and addresses and Rio Rancho Police officers weren’t able to communicate on their portable radios during traffic stops or foot pursuits.

“There was constant static depending on where you were in the city so even if you were at the building here at the police station, there would be static on the radio, just on our main channel,” explained Rio Rancho Police Lt. Tim Robey.

It’s because federal requirements forced the county had to cut back on its radio band usage in 2013.

“When we did that, we lost about 35 percent of our radio system efficiency,” explained Maxon.

But thanks to a $2 million voter-approved bond and a $1.5 million grant, the county was able to design an updated radio system.

“We don’t have a lot of static and bleed over from other channels,” said Robey.

It improves reception for six law enforcement agencies and four fire departments.

Even so, Maxon says there’s still more to be done.

“The radio system, right now, is only covering the southern portion of Sandoval County and we need another $12 million in the future to cover the rest of Sandoval County,” Maxon explained.

Officials say the new radio design is cost effective because emergency responders can use the same radios with the new towers.

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