800 Radio

The Washington County 800 MHz Radio System provides radio interoperability to ensure first responder and other public safety agencies within Washington County have seamless radio communications for the performance of their duties.

Washington County is a member of the state wide and metro region wide radio system known as ARMER (Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response). This is a shared radio system covering nine metro counties, including Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington and is being deployed state wide. The ARMER radio system is largely software based and operates in the 800 MHz band.

Washington County invested in radio equipment and tower sites to provide 95 percent on-the-belt portable coverage throughout Washington County. This is accomplished with nine radio sites owned by Washington County and five shared sites that are maintained by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Washington County has approximately 1,490 law enforcement, fire, EMS, public works and other users on the radio system.

This radio coverage allows fire, law enforcement, EMS, and public works users in Washington County to easily communicate with each other if need arises. Washington County users are also able to communicate with public safety personnel from jurisdictions outside Washington County if there is a need for these agencies to assist Washington County with fires, natural disasters, or law enforcement emergencies. Likewise, if Washington County users respond to jurisdictions outside of Washington County, they are able to communicate with these users anywhere in Minnesota.

The ARMER system is a digital, trunked radio system based on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). A digital system produces truer voice communications without the static often heard on older, analog systems. The trunking allows for more efficient use of frequencies and creates a system with more capacity than non-trunked systems. Trunking means that a computer selects one of a number of pooled frequencies for a user to talk on. Once that user releases his talk button, that frequency is immediately available for use by another user. The computer keeps track of how to route communications so conversations occurring on a given talkgroup can be heard by all radios which have that talkgroup selected.

Here are two links to metropolitan and state websites:
Metropolitan Emergency Services Board to the Metro Area ARMER System
State of Minnesota’s Emergency Communication Networks