Albuquerque officials announce first phase of $38M public safety radio upgrades

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller, the Albuquerque Fire Department, Albuquerque Police Department, and New Mexico State Police announced the launch of the first phase of a $38 million upgrade to public radio systems and equipment on Wednesday, September 16. City officials say the equipment is crucial to getting first responders from multiple agencies to coordinate in an emergency.

A collaboration between the City of Albuquerque, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, and New Mexico State Legislature, the project will replace the current radio system that is in use and will expand coverage and also allow local first responders contact New Mexico State Police who are already using the system.

Mayor Keller explains that with the current radio system, departments would have to go through dispatch. For example, APD would have to call into APD dispatch who would then contact state authorities which was a time consuming process.

Mayor Keller referenced the Ben E. Keith shooting that happened in 2018 in which the suspect shot three people in the Albuquerque area and then fled to Placitas before he killed himself. Keller stated that various departments had to communicate across jurisdictions.

He also noted that there are “dead spots” in the city where there is no radio signal. Officials say that all of this will end with the use of the new radio system.

The system will affect both the police and fire departments in Bernalillo County, the University of New Mexico, the ambulance system, Albuquerque Public Schools, as well as Tijeras, Los Ranchos, and other regions within the Albuquerque metropolitan area.

The installation of the radio network will take place at several existing sites across the city. While multiple sites will be receiving upgrades, AFR Deputy Chief David Mowery stated that some sites will be built from the ground up.

The current sites are expected to be up and running by the end of October. Training on the systems is expected to be complete by December to early January.

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