On May 27th, 1982 the first meeting of the IRVINE AUXILIARY COMMUNICATIONS GROUP was held. Fifteen participants were called to order by Harry Huggins, then a City of Irvine facilitator. Two meetings later, the first officers were elected, including Walt Rundquist as President. The name was changed to IRVINE DISASTER and EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS (IDEC). CBers and HAMS made up the first membership of 38. However, it soon became evident that CB equipment was not technically suitable to meeting the goals set for the group. Within a year, membership was restricted to licensed amateur radio operators.
The City of Irvine determined that to be effective, IDEC must work within the City organization structure. Thus IDEC became the first amateur radio group in the state of California to be organized, trained, and supervised by a City Police Department. Since inception, a full-time Sergeant of the Irvine Police Department (IPD) has supervised IDEC.
Over the next five years the group underwent changes of officers and by-laws while participating in numerous training exercises and special events. The first exercise was to provide extra "eyes" in the residential areas of the City to help stop a rash of automobile break-ins. IDEC members volunteered hundreds of hours during this week-long operation. Two months later, IDEC was asked to distribute information flyers door-to-door to every residence in Irvine, which related to a series of citywide attacks and rapes.
In 1987, Dr. Frannie Winslow and Dawna Finley of the City's Department of Emergency Management developed an Adopt-A-School program. Members of IDEC would adopt a school to coordinate its emergency preparedness and act as communicator during an emergency. Monies were earmarked to purchase the current 440MHz Sierra repeater, packet radios for some of the schools, and for the IDEC radio room. Members of the amateur radio community were attracted by this concept. As a result, IDEC membership increased.
In 1990, Dr. Winslow's department was transferred into the Police Department. She and Sergeant Steve Olson (A HAM assigned IDEC duty in 1989) soon determined that IDEC and Adopt-A-School should be combined and that the group needed more members.
In December 1990, the first transition meeting was held, and two months later the groups were merged under the IDEC name. In January 1991, an advertising campaign announced a free City-sponsored HAM class. In March 1991, more than 85 people took a weekend No-Code Technician class, were tested, and became licensed HAMS (most joined IDEC). Since its inception, IDEC has continued to evolve.
In 1992, Sergeant Olson created the Technical Reserves. This was a group of IDEC members that work closely with the Police Department when extra communication and technical help is needed during routine police activities. These uniformed members are trained in the use of police communications equipment and are authorized to drive IPD vehicles as necessary. The current program is now independent of IDEC with its own Police Department supervisor. Some Technical Reserve members are also members of IDEC.
Sergeant Rick Handfield (KF6TGX) became IDEC's advisor in 1999 and through his leadership, procedures and guidelines were fine-tuned. In 2002, Sergeant Henry Boggs (KI6CUB) was appointed IDEC advisor and the organization continued to evolve into a well-prepared disaster response and community service group. In late 2006, Sergeant Rob Warren (KI6GNW) became the IDEC advisor and worked to move IDEC to the next level in interfacing with the police department. In 2010, Officers Steve Meyer (KI6TXR) and Dwayne Lipscomb (KI6QJI) became direct supervisors of IDEC under the command of Sergeant Matt August. In 2014, Sergeant Tom Goodbrand was assigned supervisory oversight along with the continued support of Officers Lipscomb and Meyer. Advisors Detective Melissa Hilton (KK6WFG), Officer Jameson Roberts, and Officer Ryan Hutton (W6RRH) joined the IDEC family in 2015. In 2016, Sergeant Bill Bingham became the latest IDEC advisor to oversee the operation and function of IDEC.
IDEC receives funding from the City, operates a radio room located across the hall from the Emergency Operations Center in the Police Department, and also maintains a communications vehicle. Through continued member involvement in training, drills, and special events, IDEC represents an integral and important part of a successful Emergency Preparedness Plan for the City of Irvine.