The radio system used by public safety agencies in the Roaring Fork Valley is encountering problems and Pitkin County is considering a multi-million dollar fix.
Law enforcement and fire agencies have complained of interference, signal distortion and the inability to communicate with regional and state agencies that use a different system. For example, Pitkin County’s snow plow drivers can’t communicate with the Colorado Department of Transportation. And, the bus system’s radios don’t communicate with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
Upgrading the infrastructure and transitioning to what’s known as the 800 MHz system could cost between $3 and $5 million. The state would pitch in, and possibly other jurisdictions. Assistant County Manager Phylis Mattice says it’s a regional approach.
"Nobody likes that straight line across Eagle and Garfield Counties, it just doesn’t work when you’re driving the roads or there’s an emergency. Everybody needs to be able to talk to each other, so that’s what we’re after."
Even if the county chooses against a new system, the existing radio infrastructure will see some improvements.