[FONT="]The RRPD’s communications system has had only minor enhancements since it was first installed. The existing public safety radio network is inadequate to [/FONT]
[FONT="]support the needs of the City of Rio Rancho and surrounding jurisdictions. The growth of the communities coupled with the federal mandate to move to narrowband technologies has created serious shortfalls within the radio system. The newest repeater is 10 years old, while the oldest repeater still in use is 18 years old. Additionally, the growing technological needs of the agencies, such as the use of mobile data terminals, has stretched the current infrastructure to a breaking point. The best solution, as evidenced by a study conducted by Macro Corporation, is the installation of a simulcast radio system. Such a system will assist in covering areas where there are communication voids and improving marginal areas. The system will provide a microwave backbone that can also be used for other city needs, such as data transfer between water tanks and “hot spots” throughout the city. The safety of public safety employees and customer service to the citizens of Rio Rancho depends greatly on the ability to communicate in the field while responding to emergencies and incidents. Establishing a simulcast system is the number one capital priority for the RRPD.[/FONT]
[FONT="]The RRPD’s communications system has had only minor enhancements since it was first installed in the mid-1980s. The existing public safety radio network [/FONT]
[FONT="]is inadequate to support the needs of the City of Rio Rancho and surrounding jurisdictions. The growth of the communities coupled with the federal mandate to [/FONT]
[FONT="]move to narrowband technologies has created serious shortfalls within the radio system. The newest repeater is more than 10 years old, while the oldest repeater still in use is more than 18 years old. Additionally, the growing technological needs of the agencies, such as the use of mobile data terminals, has stretched the current infrastructure to a breaking point. [/FONT]
[FONT="]In 2015, a Sandoval County managed project to replace the existing system with a simulcast system began and is currently in its early stages. A new antenna tower at Angel Road is currently being constructed and at replacement tower at Northern and Rainbow boulevards is being installed. Simulcast equipment has been configured and is on order, while radio programming, network configuration, testing and cut over to the new system will occur in spring 2016. The system will assist in covering areas where there are communications voids and improve marginal areas, as well as provide a microwave backbone that can also be used for other city needs, such as data transfer between water tanks and “hot [/FONT]
[FONT="]spots” throughout the city. The safety of public safety employees and customer service to the citizens of Rio Rancho depends greatly on the ability to communicate in the field while responding to emergencies and incidents. Establishing a simulcast system is the number one capital priority for the RRPD.[/FONT]
[FONT="]Rio Rancho Public Safety Communications Upgrade [/FONT]
[FONT="]The project involves various equipment upgrades to a simulcast microwave network linking all 4 communication tower sites, including Angel Tower which will be relocated in the Village of Corrales. In Fiscal Year 2014, the project consists of relocating an existing 180-foot City owned communications tower to the top of Angel Rd. in Corrales. Funding sources include federal and state grant sources. The City will participate in project coordination; however, funding will not flow through City coffers therefore anticipated capital spending for the relocation has been removed from the ICIP. In Fiscal Year 2015, the project consists of upgrading the City’s two-way radio system to a 6 channel VHF analog simulcast solution comprised of 4 linked communication sites. The upgrade will improve radio transmissions from first responders in the field to the Communications Center. Funding for the system upgrade is largely to be determined at this time. [/FONT]
Upgrade the radio system for the Rio Rancho Police Department to enhance radio transmission transmissions with the Communications Center and other officers. officers. The best, cost-effective solution is to update the current, legacy system to a Simulcast system, which will also provide a microwave backbone to enable future expansion of the City’s communications and data transfer needs. needs. The he project will directly support Goal: 4; Public Safety Services, Services, Strategy C (infrastructure for interoperable communications).
The Rio Rancho Police has s been using the he same radio system since its initial installation in in the mid 80's. 's. The repeater used within the system was manufactured in in 2004, 2004, but the oldest was manufactured in in 1996. All of the repeaters currently in use are no longer manufactured and because of their age they are subject to failure. The City has grown with pockets of communities spread throughout a large geographical area. area. The current system uses one repeater per channel, with the primary police repeater being located at Rainbow/Northern Rainbow/Northern and “voting" stations in in Enchanted Hills and the Santa Ana Star Center. Center. Plans are in in place to move the voting site from Enchanted Hills to a new location on Angel Road in in Corrales, Corrales, however this his will only provide a band aid fix and only the primary channel. There is no automatic redundancy with the current system; therefore, if the primary repeater becomes inoperative the only alternative to manually change channels, which is difficult when the primary sys system inoperative. Because cause the alternate channels do not have voting sites and are stand-alone repeaters, communications is extremely poor with those alternate channels. The radio system is predominant predominantly line-of-sight and the signal is blocked by terrain and buildings; with new construction throughout the city additional dead spots have been created (buildings blocking the signal). To exacerbate this problem, the FCC mandated that all agencies working on VHF/UHF frequencies to narrowband technology by January of 2013. In order to meet this federal requirement, the Rio Rancho Police Department converted all radios to narrowband in September of 2012. Research shows that narrow banding reduces the capability of radios by as much as 75%. It was predicted that it would effect coverage areas but it could not be clearly defined by coverage maps alone; it was discovered officers using handheld radios (their primary communication method) often did not have radio communications while at scenes. The narrow banding caused marginal communications areas to become dead spots with no communications and other areas that were satisfactory to become marginal. There are several significant impacts of this communications shortfall; the most important is that officers are unable to summon assistance during emergencies. Other impacts include a degraded ability to coordinate emergency response and provide essential services the public, and it limits the effectiveness of routine responses to calls-for-service. The establishment of a Simulcast system will remedy the communications shortfalls and will also provide a microwave backbone for future communications needs. Simulcast will integrate 4 repeater sites (those mentioned above and an additional tower on Angle Rd) enabling the tower that receives the strongest signal to capture the signal and retransmit it on all four repeats simultaneously. The system will enhance reception and transmission and will provide redundancy if a repeater becomes inoperative, radio transmissions will still be sent/received on the remaining repeaters). Finally, the system linked by a microwave system which will provide a backbone for future communications/data transfer needs of the city.