In a continued effort to provide the highest quality police service to the citizens of Murrieta, the Murrieta Police Department is proud to announce that the new Public Safety Enterprise Communication (PSEC) Hollingsworth Tower is now in use and fully functional. This means areas in Southwest Riverside County, including Murrieta, that previously lacked radio service for first responders now have 100% communication coverage, supporting the safety of both law enforcement personnel and residents. While getting to this point took many years, the importance of having timely, reliable countywide interoperable communications for all Riverside County public safety agencies and emergency management partners throughout Murrieta remained a priority.
The Murrieta Police Department joined the Public Safety Enterprise Communication (PSEC) system in 2015. PSEC was commissioned by the County of Riverside in 2007 and went live in 2014. It was built as a countywide, highly redundant, open standard based radio system with a mission to establish a broad network of jurisdictions that could communicate seamlessly with each other, increasing efficiency and safety in the region.
As the first municipal police department in Southwest Riverside County to join PSEC, Murrieta PD staff almost immediately detected some coverage issues in the Copper Canyon/Bear Creek area. After multiple attempts to correct the issues with radio upgrades and reviewing the engineering, it was determined that the issues were directly related to the region’s unique topography. With coverage gaps related to the PSEC towers in place at the time, it became clear that complete coverage was only possible with a significant investment in an additional tower on Hollingsworth Hill. At that time, the City did not have a budget to address the concern, yet Murrieta City Council decided that 100% coverage was necessary for officer safety. The arduous process of building a second PSEC Tower in Murrieta began in 2018, and the City of Murrieta set aside $800,000 to help resolve the issue.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, negotiations began with Motorola, Riverside County, and the Hollingsworth family, who owned property where the tower would sit. Cost-sharing agreements were drafted between the City and the County of Riverside, memorandums of understanding were drafted, entitlements were set, and contractor selection was completed in 2021. Elected officials from the County and City gave final approval for the tower construction at a cost of $1.6 million. The Hollingsworth PSEC Tower was constructed in the fall of 2022, and power was supplied to the site in mid-November. The tower has a direct line of sight to the Elsinore Peak PSEC Tower and is focused on Bear Creek, Copper Canyon, and La Cresta.
In January of 2023, Murrieta PD completed testing with PSEC engineers, and the City is happy to report that the tower is meeting expectations. After years of effort, first responders and residents can now be assured that first responder communications are exceptional in Murrieta.
Murrieta Police Chief Tony Conrad emphasized the priority placed on law enforcement safety when the City of Murrieta decided to move forward with adding a new PSEC tower. “Riverside County is 7,000 square miles and has a population of 2.5 million people. Building and maintaining a robust communication system, with the topography challenges and the considerable investment required, is certainly a heavy lift for any government agency. Despite those challenges, I feel confident saying Riverside County first responders, both law and fire, have one of the best communication systems in the country. The investment by the City of Murrieta and the County into the Hollingsworth site shows the exceptional partnership we have with our law and fire partner agencies, as well as our elected officials. The Hollingsworth Tower ensures that our Murrieta residents will have public safety communication 100% coverage into the future,” shared Chief Conrad.
Murrieta PD has been an active member of the PSEC Steering Committee since 2015, and Chief Conrad currently serves on the PSEC Steering Committee as the Chairperson. City of Murrieta Fire and Rescue has recently signed agreements to join PSEC and will be one of the first Riverside County municipal fire agencies on the system.