County to consider dispatch equipment | SteamboatToday.com

County to consider dispatch equipment

Susan Cunningham

— Six years of work to upgrade the Routt County Communications system could enter its final phase today if Routt County commissioners give the go-ahead for an approximately $80,000 project.

The project would improve console radios and provide additional dispatching equipment, making it possible to have a fourth dispatcher position at the communications center.

The new equipment would provide a much-needed upgrade in communication capabilities, said Faith Mendoza, director of Routt County Communications.

“It will make our efficiency much better within the communications center,” Mendoza said. “We’ll be able to, when things get very, very busy, put in another person. At this point, we don’t have that (option).”

Having a fourth dispatch position would also help with incident dispatching, in which one person must be dedicated to a long-term event or an in-depth call, Mendoza said.

The $43,500 request for radio equipment and software for a fourth position was approved in last year’s budget. That figure did not include the cost of bringing the other three consoles up to date.

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Another $20,000 has been approved for the cost of installing the radio equipment.

The remaining $16,130 could come from the communication department’s reserves.

Today, commissioners will decide whether to let Legacy Communications make the improvements. Another meeting will be set up to decide whether the remaining cost can come from reserves.

The work marks the last step in a larger project, Routt County Emergency Services Director Chuck Vale said.

First, the county replaced repeaters on six mountain sites. Repeaters hear a radio signal and repeat it, allowing a person with a handheld radio to talk to a dispatcher on the other side of the county, Vale said.

Next, the county replaced antenna towers at the mountaintop sites, and added sophisticated equipment to reduce wind and ice load on mountain towers.

Then all of Routt County equipment was programmed identically.

“No matter what car you get in — a police car, a grader or a bulldozer — the channels in the radio are the same,” Vale said. “That was a huge issue in this county for years.”

The most recent stage was a remodel of the communications center.