Bennet Backs Bill to Connect Public Safety Community Nationwide, Ensure Safety of Coloradans

Denver, CO – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is backing a bill to connect the public safety community nationwide on a single network and increase safety of Coloradans and all Americans. 

The fiscally responsible Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, introduced by Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), would create a nationwide, interoperable, wireless broadband network for public safety officials and would reduce the deficit by billions.

“Our public safety workers should have access to resources that will help save lives and connect them with the information they need to keep us safe,” said Bennet.  “This network is an important step to connect our public safety officers, so they can share needed information more quickly while on the scene of emergencies.”

“The Colorado Department of Public Safety appreciates Senator Bennet's support of the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2011,” said Kevin Klein, Division of Fire Safety Director at the Colorado Department of Public Safety. “We believe the Act will benefit the Department and our public safety partners.”

The network would allow public safety officials to remotely access criminal databases, distribute surveillance video feeds to on-scene personnel, and receive high speed file downloads, such as floor plans for burning buildings, wirelessly.

“The Colorado State Fire Chiefs are in strong support of this very important legislation as we believe it will ensure that public safety organizations have the necessary spectrum to develop a nationwide public safety interoperable wireless broadband network,” said Steven J. Pischke, President of the Colorado State Fire Chiefs Association. “To that end we also believe that this legislation will present the Fire Service in America with the opportunity to take advantage of new technology that will greatly enhance public safety communications.” 

“County Sheriffs of Colorado are very supportive of the D Block allocation to Public Safety,” said Donald Christensen, Executive Director of the County Sheriffs of Colorado. “It is critical to providing Public Safety with increased spectrum to provide live video, and data in the field of operations. The interoperability of a unified approach of Public Safety to serve the public is only possible through improved capacity.”

“We really appreciate Senator Bennet’s choice to support this matter,” said Randy Kuykendall, President of the National Association of State EMS Officials. “The D Block is a critical component of ensuring secure public safety communications into the future for EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement.”

"Creating a public safety nationwide network out of this block of unused frequencies would be a great step forward. Emergency responders could move between geographic locations and remain connected to their home and it would allow data transfer between the responders themselves, such as across state lines or regional communication systems. The need to share data networks continues to grow," said Ben Dengerink, spokesman for the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado.

The bill would allocate 10 megahertz of the 700 MHz spectrum known as the "D-block" to public safety officials for a wireless broadband network. Public safety requires a minimum of 20 megahertz of spectrum for a nationwide broadband network.  The D-Block section is 10 megahertz that is adjacent to 10 megahertz already owned by public safety. 

The bill would increase public safety while reducing the deficit by billions.  If this part of the spectrum is not allocated for public safety use, it will be auctioned for commercial use.

The following organizations and offices support the creation of a public safety network: International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Sheriffs' Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs' Association, Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Fire Fighters, Public Safety Alliance, Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, International, National Emergency Management Association, National Association of State Emergency Medical Service Officials, National Emergency Number Association, National Governors Association, Council of State Governments, National Association of Regional Councils, The National Conference of State Legislatures, Alarm Industry Communications Committee, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, United States Conference of Mayors, AT&T, Verizon and Communications Workers of America.