The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is partnering with the United States Air Force on a project that allows the county to expand public safety radio coverage across more rural parts of the county. On Wednesday, the Board unanimously approved an easement agreement allowing the county to place a transmitter site within the Gila Bend Auxiliary Air Field near Gila Bend.
“This is another important step in our attempt to reduce or eliminate drops in radio frequency coverage for law enforcement across the county,” said Supervisor Clint Hickman, District 4. “We are grateful to the leadership at Luke Air Force Base for partnering with us to help make the community safer.”
When the system goes live in 2018, the site will provide public safety radio coverage to the Town of Gila Bend and its surrounding area.
"Luke Air Force Base is proud to partner with Maricopa County on this important public safety project," said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, Luke Air Force Base commander. "Operating the largest fighter wing in the world in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area requires a steadfast focus on safety, and not only do we work in the community but our families live in this community. So we are excited to partner with the county and local authorities to continue to strengthen our public safety network."
This easement is a part of a larger project that began in 2013 when the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with Motorola Solutions to construct a new public safety radio system. The goal is to provide comprehensive radio coverage across the 9,200 square miles of the County.
The system will eventually have 45 transmitter sites and five dispatch centers. A big challenge has been acquiring the land needed to place the transmitters. This has required Maricopa County to build partnerships with other governmental agencies, so the land can be used in a respectful and mutually beneficial way. The easement involving the Gila Bend Auxiliary Air Field site is the latest example of that type of agreement.
“Cell coverage can be a challenge in a county this vast, especially in more rural areas. So two-way radios are often the most effective way for emergency responders or other agencies to communicate,” said Hickman. “This project is important because it helps citizens, it helps law enforcement, and it allows Maricopa County to comply with federal law.”
Several county agencies will use this system, including the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Adult and Juvenile Probation, Department of Transportation, Flood Control District, and other public works departments.