SANTA FE — The Department of Information Technology’s (DoIT) newly upgraded Public Safety Radio Communications service, Digital Trunked Radio System (DTRS), assisted local law enforcement during recent officer-involved shootings.
Acting Cabinet Secretary for the DoIT Raja Sambandam says, “Our Radio Communications team members are a valuable partner for our state’s law enforcement efforts. The Department of Information Technology will continue to push for funding to bring the digital radio system to all corners of the state. DoIT is investing for tomorrow, and delivering today with a five-year, $170 million plan to upgrade the current analog infrastructure with the digital technology.”
During a press conference, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina mentioned the newly upgraded DTRS made communication with other local law enforcement agencies manageable and helped bring a swift response. The Albuquerque Police Department started using the DoIT system in early 2021. This is the first instance when agencies used the interoperability function successfully during a high-stress emergency.
“Assisting in the efforts, Valencia County, Rio Rancho, State Police, FBI, ATF, BCSO, and Sandoval county are involved, and helping in general other calls in the city as APD focused on the shooting and looking for the suspect,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.
Previous analog radio communications systems made it nearly impossible for officers and other emergency personnel to connect during emergencies. During the robbery and shooting on August 19, 2021, the DTRS made it possible for officers and emergency personnel to talk directly with each other over radios instead of calling into a dispatch center first.
“Having updated radios and being able to communicate with other agencies was instrumental in the tragic events that occurred last week when four of our officers were injured in the line of duty,” said APD Chief Harold Medina. “Mayor Keller made these much-needed radio upgrades a top priority allowing other agencies to immediately assist us during this critical incident and will be of great assistance in future events.”
DoIT authorized the use of the system to the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County at noon on March 5, 2021. DoIT offers 24-hour a-day monitoring, security with encryption, redundancies, power backups, and enhanced voice coverage and quality with this service.
In this recent operation, the New Mexico State Police Department, Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Albuquerque Fire Department, Bernalillo County Fire Department Ambulance Service, U.S. Marshals Service, and ATF seamlessly communicated through the DTRS.
On August 25, 2021, Department of Homeland Security Cabinet Secretary Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim visited the Sandia Crest Radio tower site (see attached images). Deputy Chief Information Officer Michael Rohrbacher provided information about the DTRS, radio tower, and the shelter at the crest. In 2013 and 2014, construction crews built the 180-foot-tall tower and nearby shelter.
The New Mexico Department of Information Technology is the enterprise technology partner serving and supporting State Agencies with innovative solutions to advance the delivery of their core missions and create progress for all New Mexicans. DoIT’s Digital Trunked Radio System created a master plan to expand the emergency radio system statewide and encourages local government participation to benefit first responders in New Mexico.