Williams County & Williston will be first pair in ND to use SIRN 2020

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 12:46 PM CDT
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Williston and Williams County will be the first community law enforcement agencies in the state to start using a radio system that streamlines communication between all public safety first responders in North Dakota.

SIRN 2020 is a $207 million system paid for by the state that will shorten response times and create communication between neighboring counties that currently doesn’t exist.

Law enforcement throughout the state use different radio systems, which creates difficulties when trying to communicate with each other, even within the same community.

Upper Missouri River Regional Dispatch Center Director Derrick Walker said, “Dispatch plays a critical role in trying to relay information from one agency that’s responding to the scene to a neighboring agency. While we’ll still be able to assist with those communications, SIRN 2020 will allow these responders to communicate directly with one another.”

The Statewide Interoperable Radio Network will also be beneficial in situations where first responders are transporting people across state.

Sheriff Verlan Kvande of the Williams County Sheriff’s Office stated: “If we have an emergency situation that occurs during one of those, we can easily get on the radio and make contact with any dispatch center or any local unit that would be close enough to assist at that point. Where now, we have to physically try to find a channel, and know what channel we’re looking for.”

Williams County and Williston should be transitioned to the new system by the end of 2020. Other large cities across the state will follow similar timelines.

When DAPL protests began in 2016, it exposed big gaps in communication between agencies. That helped pass bills sponsoring the SIRN 2020 system in the 2017 and 2019 legislative sessions.