Nationwide first responder network closer than ever, White House says

June 21, 2011

Washington – The White House is continuing its push for a nationwide interoperable wireless communications network for first responders.

During a June 16 summit of public safety professionals, including members of the police and fire service, Vice President Joe Biden said the Obama administration is urging Congress to pass legislation authorizing the resources to build a network that would allow first responders from various jurisdictions to more easily communicate in an emergency, among other advantages.

“I promise you, we’re going to be able to get this stuff done,” Biden said. “It has to be done.”

The first responder community has been pushing for such a network since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which revealed limitations in the current system.

In a newly released report (.pdf file) outlining the benefits of a transition to a nationwide interoperable network, the White House said the network has the potential to save both money and lives.