On February 26, 2015 the long awaited improvements to Corrales’ and Sandoval County’s Emergency Communications became a reality with the transfer of antennas to Angel Tower. This project not only is benefiting Corrales’ Emergency Communication it “will facilitate a clear line for emergency communications from Isleta to Cochiti. We’ll be able to communicate during widespread incidents such as wildfires, river rescues, and mass casualty incidents,” stated David Bervin, Sandoval County’s Assistant Fire Chief for Emergency Management.
The tower also allows for communications with Emergency Services from Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. Albuquerque and Bernalillo County operate on a different radio band from entities in Sandoval County. However, with Angel Tower we now have communications with these regional entities. Angel Tower is only for public safety communications, no private entities are on the tower. The project was a cooperative project with the Village of Corrales providing the land and $200,000 of capital outlay funding from the State Legislature. Sandoval County contributed $116,000 from the Department of Homeland Security in grant funding and the City of Rio Rancho donated the tower.
The impact of the new tower can clearly be heard. Corrales and Sandoval County have been doing radio testing throughout the area and the results are tremendous. Corrales Fire has members through the area and many of them were unable to receive calls for service on their pagers at their homes. Tests of the new tower have shown that all responders now receive calls for service. Communications testing done prior to the Angel Tower switch-over showed many “dead spots” within the Village. Police officers were unable to contact dispatch on portable radios from inside the police department, but now they can. Areas that were the worst for communications were primarily north of Dixon. Police Chief Vic Mangiacapra stated, “it is very reassuring to know that our emergency responders have enhanced communications capabilities. This will help keep them safer so they can better protect the community”.
Corrales Fire Department could not contact dispatch from inside either station on their portable radios; now it is loud and clear. Big areas of concern for Chief Martinez were the dead spots within the Bosque from Dixon north. Chief Martinez stated, “I send crews out on patrols in the Bosque to not only educate citizens on the rules but to be able to report fires if they find one. We had areas in which walking crews could not reach dispatchers on their radios. Now all of our preliminary testing is showing great coverage.”
Public Safety Units have been conducting tests throughout Sandoval County and Albuquerque with wonderful preliminary results. Chief Martinez stated, “We still have work to complete at the tower site, including storm water and drainage construction, landscaping, fencing and installation of a fire suppression system for the area”.