Enhancing the RCS East Loop

Date: February 6, 2001
To: Board of Supervisors
Subject: ENHANCING THE RCS EAST LOOP

Summary:
On June 16, 1998 (1), the Board of Supervisors approved Supervisor Cox's recommendations to partner with border counties in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to create the Border Counties Coalition.

Recommendations:
SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB AND SHERIFF BILL KOLENDER: 
1. Ratify the submission of the Science and Technology Solicitation Proposal to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and authorize the Sheriff to execute all grant documents, and any extensions and amendments thereof that do not materially impact or alter the grant program of funding level.

2. Waive Board Policy B-29, which requires full cost recovery for grants, and that Board approval be given in advance of application for funds.

3. Authorize the County's federal legislative representative to advocate funding for the County's Science and Technology Solicitation Proposal.

4. Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to draft a letter to the members of San Diego's congressional delegation, for the Chair's signature, supporting the County's grant application for enhancing the East Loop component of the Regional Communications System.

Fiscal Impact:
There is no fiscal impact associated with this request. If grant funding is made available to the County, $6,830,802 in total funding will go towards this project ($6,368,893 DOJ grant, $461,909 local match).

BACKGROUND:
The construction and installment of the Regional Communications System's infrastructure began in 1996 and the system went on board in May of 1998. The RCS contains three loops - North, South and East. At the time of planning the system, it was determined that the North and South Loop would be on a Simulcast system and the East Loop would be on an Intellirepeater system. It has become apparent that the East Loop Intellirepeater system can not handle the volume of calls during a full scale emergency, resulting in a significant number of busy signals when attempting to communicate on the system. In order to address this deficiency, the East Loop needs to be functioning on a Simulcast system.

During the recent Viejas fire and Barrett fire, countless public agencies experienced difficulty while trying to communicate on the 800 Mhz system. The safety of fire fighters, law enforcement officers and residents is jeopardized if attempts at communication only results in busy signals. During the first 48 hours of the Viejas fire, there were 9,903 calls and 2,140 busy signals on the system through the Lyons Peak communications site.

The County, through the Sheriff's Department, has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, requesting federal funding of over $6 million to significantly offset the costs of enhancing the East Loop of the Regional Communications System. By changing the East Loop to a Simulcast system, we will have increased interoperability in wireless voice communications between Federal, State and local public-safety agencies.

The recommended action before the Board will take pro-active steps towards securing funding for enhancing the East Loop component of the Regional Communications System. We urge your support.

The construction and installment of the Regional Communications System's infrastructure began in 1996 and the system went on board in May of 1998. The RCS contains three loops - North, South and East. At the time of planning the system, it was determined that the North and South Loop would be on a Simulcast system and the East Loop would be on an Intellirepeater system. It has become apparent that the East Loop Intellirepeater system can not handle the volume of calls during a full scale emergency, resulting in a significant number of busy signals when attempting to communicate on the system. In order to address this deficiency, the East Loop needs to be functioning on a Simulcast system.

The recommended action before the Board will take pro-active steps towards securing funding for enhancing the East Loop component of the Regional Communications System.

Respectfully submitted,

 

DIANNE JACOB
Supervisor, Second District

BILL KOLENDER
Sheriff