In the 1980’s, there were approximately 170 different disparate emergency radio systems in the region. In the early 90’s, technology evolved in such a way that King County was able to move away from so many different systems. In 1992, the King County Emergency Radio Communications Systems (KCERCS) was founded, with implementation being substantially complete in 1997. The King County Emergency Radio Communications System (KCERCS), was able to significantly reduce disparate radio systems down to seven.

Today’s current system, KCERCS, is comprised of 4 different system owners with differing operational standards, repair philosophies, maintenance response times, and budget cycles. Hypothetically, if a resident in King County had a repair issue, the level of service that was provided to them may vary depending on which the owner governs in that area. A call for service may get bounced from one system owner to another depending on the actual nature of the issue. In addition to these standardization issues, KCERS is now over 20 years old and past the end of its life. Today’s lack of standardization and obsolescence eventually led to the forming of PSERN which will unify and streamline operations and maintenance while upgrading to an improved emergency radio network.

PSERN Timeline

  • Medic rig outside of fire station

    Proposal to replace outdated radio system

    King County Executive Dow Constantine proposes a plan to replace the current 20 year old emergency radio network. Read more…

  • Motorola logo

    Vendor Selected

    Following an extensive procurement process and several months of contract negotiations, Motorola Solutions is selected as the system vendor for the project.
    Read more…

  • Dispatcher at communications center

    Project levy will be on the ballot

    The Metropolitan King County Council approves sending the PSERN project levy to King County voters. The levy is a nine-year property tax levy lid lift proposal to raise revenue to replace the county’s aging emergency radio system.
    Read more…

  • Voter signing ballot

    Project levy approved

    The PSERN project levy is approved by nearly two-thirds of King County voters. Read more…

  • Viability assessment

    Viability assessment conducted by Odelia Pacific Corp. reveals some sites are not viable. PSERN works with Motorola to resolve in order to move on to leasing and permitting phases. Read more…

  • Critical documents approved

    The Metropolitan King County Council approves three critical documents to move the PSERN project forward: memorandum of agreement, implementation interlocal agreement and an appropriations ordinance. Read more…

  • Kick-off meeting

    PSERN holds a project kick-off meeting, where PSERN and Motorola staff discuss how the project will move forward, scheduling, duties and more. Read more…

  • Construction management firm selected

    PSERN selects construction management firm KPFF Consulting Engineers to assist with monitoring scope, schedule and budget on the project.

  • Joint Board formed

    The project’s governing body, the PSERN Joint Board, becomes an official entity. Read more…

  • Subcommittees established

    Three subcommittees of the PSERN Joint Board are formed: PSERN Task Force, Technical Committee and Operational Committee. Read more…

  • Hand radios

    New radio equipment chosen

    With input from regional emergency personnel, PSERN identifies new radio equipment with features needed to serve our community. Read more…

  • radio tower against blue sky

    Two sites completed

    Two radio sites, known as Federal Way and Crista, are completed.

  • Two lease agreements move forward

    The Metropolitan King County Council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee passes lease agreements for the Northeast and Swan construction sites.

  • Ed Hill worksite, works standing next to tower

    Another lease complete

    The lease for the Education Hill Lease site is fully executed.

  • FCC Logo

    FCC approval

    PSERN receives approval for the first of many Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licenses.

  • Winter work site, semi-truck with equipment

    Northeast radio site complete

    Construction of the Northeast radio site is now complete. Construction continues at various radio construction sites — including the building of new shelters and towers, as well as electrical work.

  • Two radio sites near completion

    PSERN has substantially completed the Federal Way radio site and the Kent Repeater radio site.

  • Radio site equipment

    Fiber installation completed

    Fiber installation is complete and tested at the King County Courthouse and King County Correction Facility.

  • Land Mobile Radio acceptance testing

    New equipment is available for field installation after PSERN technical staff, regional partners, technical consultants and user community representatives participate in the Land Mobile Radio Factory Acceptance Testing.

  • Council expedites lease process

    The Metropolitan King County Council votes unanimously to allow the county Executive to execute PSERN leases without having Council approval, allowing for leases to move through the review process faster. Read more…

  • Vote to adopt in-building coverage

    The Joint Board votes to add in-building coverage to the PSERN project scope in a phased approach. The first phase includes three additional radio towers focused solely on in-building coverage.

  • Police officer in car using radio

    Field testing begins

    Field installation of Motorola equipment, such as Land Mobile Radio (LMR), and testing begin.

  • radio tower, landscape city and water

    Legal agreement status

    Sixty-five percent of legal agreements needed for the 57 radio sites are either in the final approval phase or fully complete.