NENA News, Press, & Stories...: Government Affairs

Rep. Eshoo Calls for Nationwide, Interoperable Communications Network for First Responders

Wednesday, September 7, 2011  
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On September 7, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), Ranking Member on the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, joined with public safety officials in calling for bipartisan legislation to create a nationwide, interoperable broadband communications network for first responders. Eshoo released the following statement:

"On the 10thanniversary of 9/11, a fitting tribute to our first responders, who fought so bravely to save lives and lost their own, is to provide them with a nationwide, interoperable broadband communications network. Congress should act decisively and quickly to address the unacceptable situation which remains in place a decade since the attack on our country.

"Other events since that day, including Hurricane Katrina and the Virginia Tech shootings, have continued to highlight why first responders need a nationwide, interoperable network to be able to seamlessly communicate with each other using any device."

"I’ve been working with my colleagues to develop bipartisan legislation that will provide first responders with the tools they need to keep our nation safe. With the support of the President, we should pass legislation that will create this communications network. The network must be well-funded, well-managed, and provide our nation’s first responders with a state-of-the-art communications system. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”

Among the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, and reaffirmed in the 9/11 Commission Tenth Anniversary Report Card released last month, is the need for a nationwide, interoperable communications network. The 9/11 Commission Report Card stated that "the inability of first responders to communicate with each other on demand was a critical failure on 9/11” and called for "the construction of a nationwide, interoperable broadband network.” Seven years after the Commission issued their initial recommendations, and ten years after the attacks on our country, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

Specifically, Eshoo is calling on Congress to pass legislation to fund, build and effectively manage a nationwide public safety network as soon as possible. Currently, several legislative proposals are moving through the House and Senate, including draft legislation by Eshoo and Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Henry Waxman, known as the Public Safety Broadband and Wireless Innovation Act. For more information about Eshoo’s legislation, please click here.

Public safety officials joined Eshoo in calling for a nationwide, interoperable public safety network:
"Ten years after the attacks on our country, we need to move forward with creating a nationwide, interoperable communications network for police and other first responders,”said San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore, who is also a member of the Public Safety Alliance."We must have the ability to communicate with each other during emergencies, as well as transmit text and video from crime and accident scenes. This network is long overdue, and I hope that Congress can come together and pass bipartisan legislation to address this growing need. I want to thank Congresswoman Eshoo for her leadership on this important issue – she has consistently worked across the aisle to broker legislation that we can all agree on.”

"Ten years after 9/11, the lack of interoperable voice and data communications remains a significant issue for first responders across the country,”said Chief Dennis Burns of the Palo Alto Police Department."Pending legislation before congress provides an opportunity to create and fund a nationwide broadband network for public safety. Such a network would facilitate coordinated responses to disasters, regional emergencies and mutual aid events. Broadband infrastructure would enhance the abilities of public safety personnel to provide critical services to our communities. I strongly support Congresswoman Eshoo’s continued efforts to improve essential technology for Police, Fire and EMS.”