Gallatin County is always working to improve the life-saving communications between our 911 dispatchers and the area’s other first responders. After more than a year of work, the County Commission voted to begin contract negotiations with EF Johnson to provide a plan and phased implementation to improve the 911 radio system. The project will include equipment and software upgrades that fix communication issues. 

Over more than a year, representatives from first responder agencies across the county came together to determine what improvements they believe are most imperative to increasing reliability, interoperability and coverage of the radio system they use on a daily basis.

That group includes representatives from Central Valley Fire, Gallatin County 911, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, Bozeman Police Department, Bozeman Fire Department, Hyalite Rural Fire District and Big Sky Fire Department.

With their input, Gallatin County 911 then created a unique request for proposals, asking vendors to come up with radio solutions for the entire county that can be implemented incrementally and provides costs for the 15 year life cycle of the equipment. 

From that request came proposals from three vendors. As part of this process, a scoring committee did extensive reviews of the proposals and performed intensive in-person interviews with the vendors. 

This forward-thinking project will create total-county solutions for years to come. Gallatin County will have its own infrastructure that we can control, rather than being on other systems that don’t meet our unique needs here in southwest Montana.

This process started under the guidance of our Interim 911 Director Jim Anderson, and will continue with our new permanent Director Tim Martindale.

Jim Doar is the county administrator for Gallatin County government.