With the 9/11 Museum recently opening in New York City, it reminded those of us in the public-safety communications world of the on-scene communication problems encountered during the attacks. The 9/11 Commission identified the need for all first responders to communicate with interoperable technology platforms.
As with many of the terrible things that occurred that day, our citizens and our government came to a simple two-word conclusion in the months thereafter never again.
In the years following the release of the 9/11 Commission's report, every one of its recommendations were fulfilled except for onea nationwide, high-speed communications network dedicated solely to public safety. The enabling legislation for this network was passed into law by Congress in 2012. On June 6, the first step toward the fulfillment of this recommendation will go live at the Adams County Communication Center (ADCOM911), located in Commerce City, Colo.
The ADCOM911 system will be part of the new Public Safety Broadband Network administered by . Once live, our work in Colorado could set the stage for the future implementation of this life-saving network in every community and throughout every state across the country.
What does this mean for public safety? It means that, for the first time, first responders in the Adams County area and portions of Denver County will be able to communicate with colleagues on the ground, in command centers, and emergency dispatch centers using voice, video, chat, text and data in real time over a single dedicated broadband network.
By providing fire, emergency medical and police departments with this service, first responders can communicate more effectively by usingtechnology that delivers greater coverage, capacity and connectivity than the current wide range of public safety wireless systems.
ADCOM911 currently serves a population of approximately 440,000 citizens through both emergency 911 calls and non-emergency phone calls. In 2013, ADCOM911 generated more than 360,000 unique requests for service, making ADCOM911 one of the largest and busiest emergency-call centers in the state of Colorado.
With the cooperation of General Dynamics C4 Systems and the award of a $12.1 million grant from the federal government, ADCOM911 will provide a 4G LTE radio access network covering 1,400 square miles in Adams County and portions of Denver County. The system will be capable of supporting more than 2,000 first responders daily, operating on next-generation technology and smart devices.
This will provide a single platform for daily public-safety communications throughout the Adams County urban corridor, the rural areas of Adams County, and portions of the city and county of Denver.
If our first responders need to monitor a large-scale public incident where communication has historically been difficult, thenetwork could enable local, state, regional and national emergency responders to communicate on a single network and at the direction of the incident commander.
On June 6, the first stages of this network will be activated and demonstrated in the Adams County urban corridor. The remainder of the network covering the rural areas of Adams County, and portions of the city and county of Denver will be constructed and completed by the end of 2014. This initial network could set the stage for expansion into additional areas within the state of Colorado and eventually serve as a model used for both statewide and nationwide public-safety networks.
The citizens of Colorado should be proud to take the lead in implementing this cutting-edge technology that may become the standard-bearer for how public-safety communications networks are soon implemented throughout the country. Our first responders missions require the ability to have the very best communications technology, enabling them to provide the public the best outcomes for the safety and well being of the citizens in Colorado.