County, municipalities to share 'cloud' for public safety enhancements

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The village of Los Lunas is expanding its governmental computer network to create a private, county-wide network that connects the village, Bosque Farms, Belen and the county's IT divisions in one network for information sharing.

The project is called Regional Vital Communications, and it will allow public safety responders, such as police departments, fire departments, EMS and others, to access information more quickly and improve public safety, said village IT manager Martin Callahan.

"It will speed up public-safety services," Callahan said.

The Valencia Regional Emergency Communication Center and the village IT division hosts the Motorola Premiere One records management system, which is the computer software for information sharing.

An early estimate to build the Regional Vital Communications project was nearly $1 million, but through a partnership between the village and Plateau Telecommunications, the project is virtually free, Callahan said.

The village will pay Plateau only $125,000 to install the infrastructure for the county network in exchange for the use of the village's governmental network.

The village received the $125,000 from the state after the IT divisions of the three municipalities synchronize their infrastructure capital improvement plans to make a case to legislators for funding. The original legislative request made by the village was for $350,000.

Plateau will use "dark fibers," a portion of the village's network that is not in use.

"How fiber works is, when you install it, it's a bundle — it can be 12, 24, 144 fiber strands — in the village we only use a couple of those strands. Dark fiber are the ones we're not using, so that's what we're letting them use," said Aaron Chavez with the village IT department.

Fiber optic cable is basically a flexible, plastic cable with a cluster of colorful glass fiber strands inside, said Callahan.

Plateau will install, at no charge to Belen, Bosque Farms or the county, gigabit (very fast) ethernet connections from Morris Road to Belen and from the "Y" at Main Street and N.M. 47 to Bosque Farms, connecting the IT divisions in one large loop of information sharing.

The county is already connected to the village fiber optic network.

"Each IT shop can work together for everything," Callahan said. "It's almost endless; what we agree upon, we can do. If we choose to, we can remote into each other's servers."

The IT divisions can help each other troubleshoot and solve problems, he said.

The municipalities can put back-up servers in one of the other cities if it chooses to so in the event of a fire or disaster, their public-safety communication system would still be operable, Callahan said.

"The dispatch center could become a real-time crime-monitoring center because they're a 24-hour operation already," said Chavez.

"And with this connectivity speed, if Bosque Farms and Belen or the village or the county decided to set up a remote monitoring site with cameras, they could provide video back to this cloud that could be monitored in dispatch," Callahan said.

These types of monitoring capabilities are not possible using the Internet because it isn't as fast as the gigabit ethernet connections, they said.

The "cloud" is the private network among the municipalities.

The project gets the local government agencies ready for Next Generation 9-1-1 and First Responder Network Authority, Callahan said.

Next Gen updates 9-1-1 emergency services, and FirstNet is the nationwide broadband network that will help police, firefighters, emergency medical service professionals and other public safety officials do their jobs more efficiently, he said.

"It's like what we're doing in the county, but all across the country," Chavez added. "That's huge."

Plateau's installation of the infrastructure for the project is expected to start in a month or two, said Buddy Vaughan, chief business developer officer with Plateau.

"We're giving ourselves 12 months to complete the project, but I don't think it will take that long," Vaughan said.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.