Public Safety Alliance Gains Support

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Additional State and National Organizations Call for Allocation of D Block to Public Safety

NAPO believes that the National Broadband Plan falls short of making certain that public safety has an interoperable mobile broadband network to support not only everyday first responder activities, but also emergency prevention and response

The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) recently expressed their support for allocation of the D Block to public safety, joining the many state, national and international organizations representing first responders, state and local governments and other professionals and supporting the Public Safety Alliance’s position, including the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Criminal Justice Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, the National Volunteer Fire Council, CALNENA and the American Public Works Association.

“NAPO believes that the National Broadband Plan falls short of making certain that public safety has an interoperable mobile broadband network to support not only everyday first responder activities, but also emergency prevention and response,” William J. Johnson, executive director of NAPO, said in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski. “In these tough economic times, it is not practical to believe that there will be a consistent funding source to build out the nationwide network if the D Block is auctioned off for commercial purposes. Allocating the D Block to public safety is the only way to ensure a reliable, robust broadband network that meets the needs of a modern first responder community.”

NAPO is a coalition of more than 2,000 police units and associations, 241,000 sworn law enforcement officers, 11,000 retired officers and more than 100,000 citizens who share a common dedication to fair and effective crime control and law enforcement.

“Contrary to what was said during the FCC’s testimony before the House Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee last week, allocation of the D Block to public safety is the only sure way to make the National Broadband Plan a reality and to meet the demands of the 9/11 Commission Report by establishing a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network,” Richard Mirgon, president of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International said. “As more and more organizations continue to come out in support of D-Block allocation and we continue to shed light on this vitally important issue, we are confident Congress and the Administration will take the necessary steps to ensure this critical asset lands in the hands of our first responders and not commercial carriers.”

The Public Safety Alliance last week launched a national advertising and grassroots campaign, calling on Congress to modify the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) proposed auction of the D Block included in its national broadband plan, specifically by supporting H.R. 5081 - the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010. The group is a partnership among the nation's leading public safety associations, which includes APCO International, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association and the National Emergency Management Association. The partnership is operated as a program of APCO International.

Organizations also supporting allocation of the D Block to public safety include the National Governors Association, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the Council of State Governments, the International City/County Management Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Criminal Justice Association and the American Public Works Association.

For more information on the Alliance, visit http://www.psafirst.org.

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Courtney McCarron Hastings

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