Help For First Responders
Congressmember Joseph Crowley, Deputy Police Chief Charles Dowd and FDNY Chief of Communications Robert Boyce praised the passage of legislation that paves the way to build a nationwide interoperable communications network that will help firefighters, police officers and first responders communicate efficiently and effectively. A nationwide interoperable communications network will allow police officers, firefighters and other first responders to communicate and coordinate on one network. The need for such a network was made tragically apparent on September 11, 2001 when first responders from different agencies across New York City faced difficulties in communicating on the front lines of the rescue efforts because each agency operated under their own communication network.
“What became clear on September 11 is that too many firefighters and police officers could not communicate with each other because their radios simply didn’t work. Since that day, I have been working with city and state officials to ensure our first responders are never put in that position again,” said Crowley. “The creation of a nationwide interoperable communications network is a long-overdue investment in the safety of our first responders, and a muchneeded tribute to those who put their lives on the line for us over a decade ago at Ground Zero. I will continue to work in Congress on behalf of New York’s first responders to ensure that this important step is not the last step in giving them the tools they need to keep our communities safe.”
Earlier this month, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extends the payroll tax cut to working middle-class families. Included in this legislation is language to authorize the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct voluntary incentive auctions to repurpose broadcast and other spectrum for wireless broadband uses. As part of this auction, a portion of spectrum, known as the D Block, will be dedicated for use by the nationwide interoperable safety network. The bill also mandates that $7 billion in funding derived from the sale of other spectrum be used to finance the creation of the first responder network.
President Barack Obama signed this bill into law on February 22, 2012.
In addition to being long championed by first responders and the city of New York, the creation of this network is also a recommendation made by the 9/11 Commission. Crowley called for the establishment of this network in his June 2002 homeland security report entitled, “Securing New York: A Blueprint for Meeting New York City’s Homeland Security Requirements”.