Alamosa County recently became the first of six counties to tap into Colorado’s statewide 800 MHz digital trunked radio system.

Alamosa joined last year with Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties--all on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains--in a regional effort to secure a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to bring the statewide system to their area. The Motorola-provided system consists of 93 radio sites and nine public-safety dispatch centers.

The $4.4 million in grant monies enabled the purchase of radio site equipment and 630 mobile and portable radios for first responders, and to upgrade the Colorado State Patrol dispatch center.

“Without Homeland Security funding, local responders would have never been able to join the statewide network,” said Jeff Babcock, Homeland Security project coordinator for the San Luis Valley All-Hazards Emergency Management Region, in a statement.

The remaining five counties in the region are expected to be connected to the statewide system by the fall.