WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 8, 2011 –As Congress continues to move forward with legislation to allocate D block spectrum to public safety and provide sufficient funding to realize a nationwide, interoperable Public Safety Broadband Network, the Public Safety Alliance (PSA) today sought to assure all Members of Congress that America’s public safety community is unified in their support, along with the nation’s state and local government officials, in enactment of legislation to finally implement one of the last remaining unmet recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.
“Like all Americans, we recognize and appreciate our nation’s current fiscal and economic realities. That is why it is so important that Congress complete action on comprehensive spectrum legislation this year to spur the economy, create jobs, ensure competitiveness in the marketplace, and provide public safety and first responders with the mission-critical broadband capabilities desperately needed to efficiently and effectively protect, mitigate and respond to emergencies each and every day, everywhere in the country, whether in the most rural outposts or the most urban, congested settings,” stated Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald, President of the National Sheriffs’ Association, “Let me assure you that there is no distance between the position of Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police, Fire Chiefs, Emergency Medical Technicians, fire fighters, law enforcement officers, Emergency Managers, Governors, Mayors, County Executives and public technologists. There has never been such a level of shared priority and unity as we have today.”
“We welcome the actions taken in recent weeks by the House leadership – particularly the yeoman’s work of Chairman Upton, subcommittee Chairman Walden, and all the Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in moving a bill forward that includes D block allocation and public safety broadband funding,” added Assistant Sheriff Ray Flynn, PSA Representative for the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, “we continue to work closely with House and Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle to realize a final bill that addresses concerns and interests of all parties, but at the end of the day, best meets the immediate, short and long term operational needs, capabilities and requirements that public safety must have in order to protect public safety officers and first responders, while protecting the public we all serve.”
“Make no mistake. Public safety continues to have serious concerns with some aspects of the legislation being proposed, especially with respect to the proposed giveback of critical existing narrowband spectrum, and a troubling governance model. However, we are united like never before in our shared commitment to work constructively with all Members of Congress and their collective leadership in both Houses of Congress to finally advance a workable solution that meets both the political realities in Washington DC, and the mission-critical operational realities throughout the nation. This is a critical time for all of us in this process, and none of us can afford to accept any attempts to minimize or politicize the level of unity that our nation’s first responders, state and local officials, and other stakeholders have on these issues at this important time,” stated former police chief and former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Harlin McEwen, PSA representative for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“Public safety continues to strongly support S.911,” declared Charlottesville Fire Chief Charles Werner, a representative of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Immediate Past President of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.