Public Safety Enterprise Communication (PSEC)
On Monday July 20, 2015, at 6 a.m. the Murrieta Police Department officially integrated into the Riverside County Public Safety Enterprise Communication (PSEC) System and became the first municipal law enforcement agency in the county to join the system.
PSEC was created by the County of Riverside in 2005 with the goal of having a reliable radio system that not only allows for interoperability between all law enforcement agencies in the county, but also eliminates hundreds of previously known "dead spots" which were attributed to the unique topography of the county and building associated with population growth. PSEC operates on a digital platform instead of an analog network and is therefore technologically more advanced. An expansive and robust infrastructure of radio towers was constructed throughout the county which now provides greater geographic coverage and allows for interoperability with surrounding counties in the event of a large scale disaster.
Issues with Old System
The Murrieta Police Department has had a stand-alone analog radio system for the past 23 years consisting of only two tower sites in the city. The existing system is not simulcast, meaning the two tower sites do not work together to strengthen a radio transmission; it only works from one (nearest) site which diminishes radio coverage, thus creating several "dead spots" within the city. Existing radio coverage is limited to two miles outside the city limits. Interoperability with our own fire department and surrounding police agencies was limited to merging frequencies resulting in diminished clarity of those transmissions. The PSEC system will significantly enhance officer safety and community safety.
Murrieta, like the county, has the same geographic challenges and experienced building associated with population growth, which has negatively impacted radio coverage. Coupled with antiquated radio equipment, Murrieta officers have routinely experienced missed radio transmissions on numerous emergency and routine calls for service over the past several years; which has at times, jeopardized the safety of the officers and community. A new radio system and equipment was necessary and inevitable. The Department considered upgrading our existing system, but the best and least expensive option was to join PSEC, since the infrastructure was already in place and covered the city.
When the Riverside County Sheriff's Department became fully integrated into PSEC on January 5, 2014, the Murrieta Police Department quickly began studying the feasibility of joining the system and met with representatives with the PSEC implementation team from the Riverside County Information Technology (RCIT) Department. Over the past year, the conversion to PSEC has been a top priority of Chief Sean Hadden and his administrative team, and has been fully supported by the Murrieta City Council.
Cost & Funding
The overall cost of the PSEC conversion project is estimated at $2.1 million. Approximately $1.5 million has been funded and spent so far on the purchase, programming and installation of new digital radios for the Police and Fire Dispatch Center, police cars, and the assignment of portable radios to the officers. The Department decided on Harris brand "quad-band" radios which allow for all possible public safety frequencies in a single radio; including Very High Frequency (VHF), Ultra-High Frequency (UHF), 800 mega-hertz and 700 mega-hertz channels. This technology did not exist until a few years ago. Also, for the first time, the police department will have the ability to communicate directly with the Murrieta Fire Department and other county law enforcement agencies with the "turn of a dial."
The funding for the Murrieta's PSEC migration project has been exclusively from Developer Impact Fees (DIF), Federal Seized Asset Forfeiture funds and a County allocated public safety grant. To date, no general fund monies have been utilized for this project. On June 16, 2015 the Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted a four year rate holiday, meaning use of the PSEC system will not cost the city anything until July 1, 2019. From the 5th to 10th year of the agreement, annual costs are estimated to be $120,000 per year. The annual cost for our current system is approximately $90,000.