Governor Hickenlooper to Sign Interoperable Communications Bill

HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO, Jun 6, 2011 —  Governor John Hickenlooper will sign a new bill on Friday that ensures schools will have quick and reliable communication with first responders. Senate Bill 11-173, “Interoperable Communications in Schools,” is the first in the nation to envision statewide interoperability that includes all schools. The measure was introduced by Senator Steve King.

Interoperable Communications Bill Signing

When: Friday, June 10, 2011 at 10:15 a.m.

Where: Rock Canyon High School, 5810 McArthur Ranch Road, Highlands Ranch, CO 80124

Currently many first responders across the state are unable to directly communicate with school personnel during an emergency because they are using different radio systems. This can slow the flow of critical information needed to respond to a medical emergency, or lock down a school during the search for a dangerous suspect.

“Douglas County is ahead of the curve when it comes to interoperability,” said Douglas County School District Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Celania-Fagen. “The District and Sheriff’s Office have already tested and installed interoperable communications systems in 15 middle and high schools throughout the county, ensuring first responders get the information they need quickly.”

This was Phase I that was completed in 2010 through a $247,500 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant.

With the resources provided by Senate Bill 11-173, and $1.1 million in new funding from the Douglas County Emergency Telephone Service Authority (E911 Authority), the Sheriff’s Office and the School District will continue to implement interoperable communications in the 67 remaining school facilities in Douglas County. The E911 Authority will grant $200,000 to install equipment in 2011 (Phase II) and the remainder (Phase III) of the funding and installation will occur in 2012.

Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver said, “The safety of our children is one of our highest priorities. This system will reduce our response time to any school-related emergency and permit my deputies to communicate with school officials on the scene. My office is extremely appreciative of the E911-Authority for their generous contribution to this program.”