|San Jose Mercury News - Silicon Valley officials tout legislation for new emergency communication network|
|Monday, 23 April 2012 00:00|
By Mark Gomez
Before Chris Moore became San Jose's top cop two years ago, he was making regular trips to Washington D.C. in an effort to persuade lawmakers to spend billions of dollars on a nationwide public safety broadband network.
Monday, Moore was joined at the police department by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, and a few dozen Bay Area public safety officials to tout the successful campaign and highlight what it will bring to San Jose and the rest of the nation: the recently enacted federal legislation that will allow for the construction of a state-of-the-art communication network for first responders.
The law, part of the larger legislative package the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act," will set aside $7 billion for the creation of a nationwide wireless broadband communications network. The law also sets aside a critical band of airwaves known as the "D-block," solely for the public safety communications network, Moore said.
The new law also provides $115 million in grants to state and local public safety agencies to upgrade 911 call centers.
"Once completed, police, fire, EMS and other public safety officials at local, state and federal level will be able to seamlessly and reliably communicate with each other using technology that not only supports voice but video and data as well," said Eshoo, one of the key supporters of the legislation. "Emergency responders will have access to applications.
that make communications and information sharing as dynamic as those available for the iPhone or the Droid."
The call for a national public safety network came in a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission Report, published in 2004. The report identified that a lack of communication between police, fire and paramedics at the World Trade Center hampered emergency response efforts and may have cost lives, Eshoo said.
"Faced with the unimaginable, police, fire and EMS departments arriving on the scene had to contend with outdated radios that didn't allow them to talk to each other," Eshoo said. "The communication challenges on 9/11, as well as Hurricane Katrina ... are all powerful reminders of what we have not done to help our first responders communicate seamlessly during an emergency.
"Today we can say we've gotten the job done."
When the network is complete, Eshoo provided a handful of ways the new technology may help first responders:
"What we're looking at is a communications network facilitating that type of interagency communication on a much faster, broader level," Moore said.
|Thomas Bill Search|