Special Communications Unit

General Information

The Special Communications Unit (SCU) provides radio operators for all forms of communication, as well as providing supplemental communications to the Sheriff's Office. These supplemental communications include low band, UHF, VHF, HF, digital communications and repeater capabilities to First Responders, the Incident Command Post (ICP), and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). SCU members staff both the EOC and the ICP and other locations as required. They also provide field communications for the El Paso County Search and Rescue team. You are not required to hold an FCC license to join the SCU but members are highly encouraged to test and obtain their license within one year of membership.

A component of the SCU is the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) Unit. RACES, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the United States government, is part of the Amateur Radio Service that provide communication for civil-preparedness purposes only during periods of local, regional, or national civil emergencies. During times of federal emergencies RACES members are the only amateur radio operators allowed to transmit over federally specified frequencies. Only volunteers who hold a valid FCC license are able to join the RACES unit.

The SCU volunteers receive training in a variety of topics. They work very closely with the El Paso County Search and Rescue, Wildland Fire Crews, Civil Air Patrol, and the Sheriff's Office Communications Center. The SCU operates under the supervision and authority of the El Paso Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Division.

The SCU meets the 3rd Thursday of each month @ 7:00 pm at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Emergency Operations Center, located at 101 W. Costilla Street.