Officials say an upgrade to the public safety radio system earlier this year proved its worth last week during a massive manhunt for a suspect following a shootout that injured four officers.
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said the updated radios were paramount in communicating with other agencies in order to provide a quick response.
“Following the heroic moments our officers put their lives on the line last week, agencies were able to immediately respond to the scene and provide assistance due to these much needed upgrades,” he said.
Rebecca Atkins, an Albuquerque Police Department spokeswoman, wrote in a news release that the city spent $38 million to upgrade the radio system that agencies within Bernalillo County, Valencia County and Rio Rancho use to communicate with one another.
She said new radios were issued to APD and Albuquerque Fire Rescue personnel, as well as staff at the Animal Welfare Department, the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Municipal Development in March 2021.
Atkins said the previous system was “antiquated,” there were fears it would fail during significant events, different law enforcement agencies were not always able to connect with one another, and there were areas of the city and county — including parts of the West Side, the East Mountains and inside some buildings — where the radios didn’t work.
Atkins said legislators and the governor contributed the bulk of the funding for the upgrades and the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County also contributed.
“As we work on staffing up the department, we’re also modernizing the tools that officers need to do their jobs,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “The upgrades have solved significant issues that were chronic with the old system, like being outdated, and often being patched together with spare parts purchased online on sites like eBay because they were no longer available from manufacturers.”