SANTA FE- The collaboration between the Department of Information Technology and New Mexico Army National Guard brings safety to students and bus drivers in Hidalgo County.

Employees, Gabriel Gates (DoIT), Marcos Tapia (DoIT), Bruce Brown (DoIT), and Scott Richins (Hidalgo County) were taken by Blackhawk helicopter to rugged areas to deploy new communications equipment to a remote site in Hidalgo County. This site is only accessible by helicopter and the New Mexico Army National Guard provided transportation for members of the county and DoIT’s Public Safety Communications Team. The ride served as a training mission for the National Guard pilots as well.

The ‘Hidalgo County Public Safety Communications Improvement Project,’ will improve the radio communications for first responders and school districts in the county. When fully completed in February, it will provide enhanced service, and interoperability to public safety agencies. Public safety departments will receive new dispatch console equipment as part of the improvements. The project will also take the county out of the analog age and move them into the new digital Project 25 Technology.

Thanks to the initiative from the Governor and approved funding from the legislature the employees at DoIT, are replacing almost critical components of the old system. Buses in Animas and Lordsburg School districts were lacking the radio communications equipment for nearly two years. The new digital system will serve as an extra layer of protection. There had been instances of issues in the boot hill, with people attempting to commandeer school buses, or blocking travel, and drivers had no way to report to authorities. This new equipment and project will now make communing to school safer.