By Jason KUROSU
The plan to provide a dedicated communication network for emergency responders, which could include constructing a tower atop the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, will be discussed in detail at a Crescenta Valley Town Council Land Use Meeting on Thursday, June 11.
The Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA RICS) is intended to give first responders a network independent of commercial cell networks, particularly for scenarios when cell networks go down, such as earthquakes or other major disasters.
The project consists of two systems, a Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system for day-to-day radio communication service for public agencies and a Long-Term Evolution (LTE) system for a broadband wireless network.
Construction began on the sheriff’s station tower in February, as well as other stations in Los Angeles County, but was halted after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to delay construction pending further community outreach in March. Construction commenced again in April.
On June 11, LA RICS representatives will make a presentation on the latest information regarding the project and gather input from residents. In addition to five regional meetings, LA RICS will be conducting a series of smaller community meetings, which includes Thursday night’s meeting.
LA RICS representatives previously discussed the project at an April CV Town Council meeting.
LA RICS Authority Program Manager Rick Polehonka said the project “improves citizen and responder safety” and “increases the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response.”
The proposed tower at the sheriff’s station on Briggs Avenue would be approximately 45 feet tall and obscured with dark green paint, according to Polehonka’s presentation.
The LA RICS project was originally intended to create 231 monopoles across the county, but the project has been scaled down to 69 fixed towers and 15 mobile units after a host of public safety concerns regarding potential cell tower radiation. The project is being funded through a $154 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. However, the project must be completed by Sept. 30 in order to retain the funding.
After the June 11 meeting, the Land Use Committee will make an official recommendation to the town council at its June 18 meeting. The town council will vote to accept, modify or reject the motion and will send its recommendation to Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office.
The town council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library Community Room, 2809 Foothill Blvd. Those who cannot attend the meeting but wish to comment are urged to send their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.