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In the News

New interoperable radio system now serving Blanco, Burnet and Llano counties

Monday, March 24, 2014

Emergency communications in CAPCOG’s westernmost counties — Blanco, Burnet and Llano — have entered a new era.

In early February, the first phase of the CAPCOG Western Counties Radio Interoperable Communications System began serving law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services personnel in Burnet County and the cities of Burnet and Bertram.

> Discover CAPCOG's Homeland Security Division

Additional agencies are being switched over to the new system weekly as part of a phased approach to implementing the system. This approach ensures all equipment is programmed correctly and all users are trained on the new system when they begin using it.

To ensure that critical public safety communications are not interrupted during the transition, the existing radio system remains operational.

The new system, funded from local funds and CAPCOG-managed federal homeland security grant funds from nine grant years, gives emergency responders of all disciplines in the 10-county region the ability to communicate with each other. In addition, the system is linked to the Greater Austin-Travis County Regional Radio System (GATRRS) that covers Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Lee counties. GATRRS is linked to the public safety radio systems serving Hays and Fayette counties.

> Sign up today on the Regional Notification System

In a February briefing to the CAPCOG Homeland Security Task Force, Burnet County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Barho referred to the development of this project as “an excellent example of regionalism and cooperative partnership between jurisdictions with different governing bodies.” He emphasized the importance of “partnerships and trust” among the participating jurisdictions in the success of this long and complex project.

Ongoing management of the system is overseen by an Executive Committee comprising the county judges of the three participating counties — Bill Guthrie, Blanco County; Donna Klaeger, Burnet County; and Wayne Brascom, Llano County — and Marble Falls Mayor George Russell. Each also serves on CAPCOG’s Executive Committee.

Day-to-day operations of the system are supervised by an Operations Committee that includes personnel from each of the primary jurisdictions. Ongoing costs of maintaining the system are borne by participating jurisdictions in accordance with terms of an interlocal cooperation agreement. Grant funding for the project was provided by the federal Homeland Security Grant Program per recommendations from the task force.

> Learn about CAPCOG's Homeland Security Task Force 

Since the task force’s 2003 inception, its primary focus has been the development of interoperable radio communications — the ability of public safety personnel to talk with each other. The lack of interoperable communications was cited in the report of the federal commission that reviewed the response to the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, as a major factor contributing to the deaths of personnel who responded to assist.

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