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Investments in Public Safety Communications

Posted on 03/28/2019
by Weld County Commissioner Mike Freeman

There are some things in life we just expect to work – always: the lights when we flip the switch on; the television when we push the remote button. But often we give little thought as to what actually makes those things so reliable, what makes them work, until they don’t. Perhaps none more true than being able to call 911 when we need emergency help.

Putting together a state-of-the-art emergency communications system is one of the responsibilities we as commissioners take very seriously. With 300,000 people calling approximately 4,000 square miles home in our county, our job is to make sure, whether rural or urban, the same service is available and reliable for all of our constituents.

Over the years, county government has invested millions of dollars in our Public Safety Communications infrastructure; not only to ensure residents can connect with first responding agencies in an emergency but also to ensure first responding agencies can connect with each other when responding to calls.

Last year alone, the county invested more than $11 million in hardware and software upgrades to emergency communications platforms. The county purchased a new communications tower in the Windsor/Severance area and has partnered with Windsor Police and the Windsor-Severance Fire Protection District to develop the site to ensure reliable communication platforms for first responders along the 1-25 corridor north of Highway 34. The county also replaced the communications tower in the Grover area to ensure improved coverage in the north-eastern part of our county. The upgrade in our software programs and the creation of a redundant system further ensures the reliability of our Land Mobile Radio systems for first responders, which, in turn, ensures reliable communication and response to the public.

But not all of the investments are made just to the internal/response end of public safety communications. In 2017, the county launched its Text-To-911 service to the public, which allows people who can’t verbally provide information about their emergency to text that information to our dispatch center. And another enhancement, which launched in January of this year, allows for more accurate location finding of people calling from mobile devices anywhere in the county.

The dedication of the Board of Commissioners to create the best public safety communications system is second only to the dedication of our public safety communications staff to maintain and run that system.

For the past five years, the Weld County Regional Communications Center has been awarded an honor given to less than 200 communications centers world-wide: it has been accredited as an Emergency Medial Dispatch Center of Excellence. In 2015, the center was recognized as one of the top ten call centers in the country by And in 2017, the center’s manager was one of only 22 graduates from the prestigious Certified Public Safety Executives Program. Our staff’s dedication to providing the best in public safety communications to our residents is amazing and a testament to their dedication to provide the best service to the people of this county.

Together, staff, emergency first responders and commissioners are continually exploring ways to improve our systems and our processes. The Board is committed to investing in hardware, software and other tools that help improve the reliability and efficiency of the service we proudly provide. Because at the end of the day, we want your ability to call for emergency help to be so reliable that you never question how it works because, well, it just always does.