In a move designed to honor the heroes of September 11, 2001 on the 10th Anniversary of the attacks, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) is charging ahead with a plan to create a nationwide communications network for first responders.
Eshoo, a ranking member of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, joined with public safety officials this week in calling for bipartisan legislation that would establish a nationwide, interoperable broadband communications network for first responders.
“Congress should act decisively and quickly to address the unacceptable situation which remains in place a decade since the attack on our country,” Eshoo said. “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.”
According to the Congresswoman, the 9/11 Commission Report Card stated “the inability of first responders to communicate with each other on demand was a critical failure on 9/11.” The report card called for the establishment of the nationwide network 10 years ago, but the recommendation has yet to be implemented.
Eshoo doesn’t want to wait any longer.
“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,” she explained. “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.”
The Palo Alto legislator is calling on Congress to pass legislation that would fund, build, and effectively manage a nationwide public safety network as soon as possible, according to Eshoo’s office. At present, there are multiple legislative proposals moving through both the House and Senate, including draft legislation called the Public Safety Broadband and Wireless Innovation Act, which was co-authored by Eshoo.
Local public safety officials are lauding Eshoo for her work to push the legislation through Congress.
“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.”
“Ten years after 9/11, the lack of interoperable voice and data communications remains a significant issue for first responders across the country,” Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns added. “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 improve essential technology for police, fire, and [Emergency Medical Services].”
Read the text of the Public Safety Broadband and Wireless Innovation Act by clicking HERE.