Sandoval County’s first responders will soon get new GTR 8000 replacement radios  — improving public safety communication efforts when going out to calls — which’ll be especially important when it comes to the rural parts of the county.

The County Commission unanimously OK’d the County Fire and Rescue department’s request Wednesday to purchase close to 2,000 additional mobile and portable devices. These devices are meant to last over 10 years, according to Motorola.

A measure allowing the purchase of new uninterrupted power supply (UPS) battery back-up devices was also unanimously approved. Those back-up devices will apply to the six communication tower sites the county oversees, ahead of the state’s impending rollout of a new public safety communications system. They will also provide extra reassurance in case power at one of the towers is lost.

“We are rolling out mobile and portable devices to different entities and tracking that information. It is coming along,” County Fire Chief Eric Masterson told the commission.

The radios do not have 100 percent of the 700mHz programming  so they’ll need to be updated.

There are 290 radios in the field being used, Masterson said, adding Rio Rancho police, the county sheriff’s department and county fire and rescue have been the big recipients of the devices so far.

Masterson said there’s just short of another 2,000 radios left to add.

“It’s a big process for every entity in the county,” Masterson said, adding there’s also the extra task of installing those radios into the facilities and units.

County Fire aims to begin large-scale deployment of the devices around November. System completion and acceptance testing for the devices is expected to occur in either January, 2023 or February, 2023.

Aside from ongoing issues like supply chain woes, the main challenge is every device must go through individual alignment, testing and programming.