Pol plea for first response

Nov 16, 2011 Issues: First Responder Communications

New York Post -- by S.A. Miller

WASHINGTON — New York lawmakers yesterday urged Congress’ supercommittee to include in its debt-reduction deal a measure to create a nationwide wireless network exclusively for first responders, fixing a problem that stymied rescue efforts at Ground Zero.

“Any teenager with a smartphone has better technology than our first responders,” Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) said. “They can share more information more quickly than the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. That must change.”

Gillibrand was joined by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Peter King (R-LI), as well as a host of lawmakers from other states and a crowd of first responders from across the country — all pushing for the new broadband network.

New York lawmakers have long championed the communications upgrade, which was a key recommendation by the 9/11 Commission but hasn’t been realized more than 10 years after the terror attacks.