The Story of the Colorado Statewide Digital Trunked Radio System (DTRS).
In the early 1990’s, the State of Colorado envisioned a continuation project to replace the
multiple disparate wireless communications systems operated by state and local
governmental agencies. A seven phase project was planned and constructed through
partnerships with local municipal, county, tribal, state and federal governmental agencies
to make a communications system that would be available to all public safety, public
service and other governmental agencies as either their primary radio system or for
interoperability only. The resulting system was named the Colorado Statewide Digital
Trunked Radio System - or DTRS.
In 1998, the Communication Services team within the Department of Personnel &
Administration's (DPA) Division of Information Technologies (DoIT) began
implementing the first phases of DTRS. The early phases spanned four years and
included participation from the legacy infrastructure partners, Douglas and Jefferson
counties. By early 2002, the DTRS coverage footprint spanned the majority of the
Denver metro area, including Adams and Arapahoe counties, as well portions of
northeast and southeast Colorado. In August 2002, the Consolidated Communications
Network of Colorado (CCNC), a formalized DTRS user group, was formed. CCNC
participants include all full and associate members using the DTRS, governs participation
on the system. All levels of government from municipal to federal, as well as all types of
first responders ranging from police, fire, EMS, public works, schools, hospitals, utilities
and transit represent the CCNC membership.
The State of Colorado, through the Communication Services team, has maintained an
integral partnership with all levels of government and users on the system, functioning as
the primary entity providing system engineering and support. In April 2008, the Colorado
State Legislature funded a multi-million dollar upgrade to the DTRS network. This
upgrade included a significant hardware and software replacement affecting 28 local and
state public safety dispatch centers statewide as well equipment at all system sites.
Additionally the Pikes Peak Regional Communications Network (PPRCN) became part
of CCNC in July 2009 and its Zone Controller was upgraded and integrated into the
DTRS. Upgrade benefits include transition to an IP-based network environment, space to
add IP-based and hard-wired dispatch consoles, as well as a supported platform for
growth with future Project 25 (P25) technologies.
Five of the project phases had been completed when pursuant to Senate Bill 08-155,
DoIT - and therefore its Communication Services team - was transferred from DPA to the
Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT) on July 1, 2008. Heralded nationally
as a successful example of local and state level partnership in public safety
communications, the DTRS will now additionally benefit from formalized processes and
project management as the state works with local government to complete the statewide
build out of the system.
Under OIT, Public Safety Communications Network (PSCN) continues to implement
additional infrastructure statewide as described in the initial plan.The Colorado
Wireless Interoperabilty Network (CWIN) initiative provided for funding as a single
project to assist in completion of the initial phases. The CWIN program provided almost
$40 million in grants to local governments for the construction of new infrastructure.
In addition, Colorado was awarded $14.3 million from the PSIC grant for disbursement
to local and state government. A significant portion of the PSIC funds has been used
for DTRS infrastructure and subscriber equipment.
The infrastructure currently consists of 212 active radio sites operating on four Zone
Controllers and provides mobile radio coverage to approximately 95% of the state
highways. The system utilizes frequencies in both the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands.
There are over 1000 state, local, county, federal and tribal agencies and over 70,000
subscriber radios using DTRS. Approximately one-third of the users are state agencies
while two-thirds of the users are local and federal government agencies. The system
averaged more than 9,000 hours of talk time each month and handled over 99 million calls in
The system has additional radio sites planned for implementation into 2013-2014 to
provide additional coverage in areas still needing coverage. The majority of these new
radio sites will be located in the western part of the State. These radio sites have been
funded primarily through local government budgets and the Department of Homeland
Security yearly grant processes.
DTRS provides a near seamless statewide wireless system that enables direct
communications between agencies requiring primary and interoperable communications
for daily and emergency incidents. DTRS supports wireless voice (and in the future data
communications) on a single integrated system based upon the P25 suite of open
standards. The main deliverables of DTRS are improved communications for all
participating agencies with significant improvement in interoperability between agencies.
The DTRS meets the highest level of interoperability for Technology on the SAFECOM
Interoperability Continuum, as it is integrated via gateways, with other public safety
communications networks throughout the state. DTRS initially received funding through
the "Public Safety Trust Fund” created by HB98-1068 and more recently through
Homeland Security, CWIN, Energy and Mineral Impact, Public Safety Interoperable
Communications (PSIC) and other federal grants. These grant programs have promoted
local, regional, and tribal government participation in DTRS via funding of significant
infrastructure additions to the system.