Bill Seeks Improvements in Public Safety Communication, Spectrum
Otero, Juan, Nation's Cities Weekly
Reps. Jane Harmon (D-Calif.) and Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) recently introduced legislation to ensure the nation's police, fire and other emergency responders have the broadcast frequencies they need for secure, effective and interoperable radio communications.
"Ineffective and inadequate communications put the lives of emergency responders and civilians at risk," said Harman during a press conference. "In any emergency, as well as in their day-to-day work protecting communities, law enforcement and fire departments need instant radio communications. But, if they are from different jurisdictions, they often use different broadcast frequencies or incompatible equipment and are forced to rely on messengers or other means to share information and respond to the emergency."
The bill is a needed response to the events of September 11, which demonstrated once again that police, fire, EMS and other public safety agencies need additional radio spectrum for their communications systems. Current spectrum allocations are insufficient and often force agencies to operate across different, incompatible radio frequency bands. As a result, agencies responding to emergencies are often unable to communicate with each other through their portable radios. This occurred in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and re-occurs on a day-to-day basis for public safety agencies across the nation.
Specifically, the Homeland Emergency Response Operations (HERO) Act (H. …