Reviews Are in on the Rockefeller Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act

February 11, 2011

Chairman Rockefeller meets with uniformed public safety officials.WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV recently reintroduced legislation to promote smart and efficient use of the nation’s radio airwaves and provide first responders and public safety officials with additional wireless resources to keep America safe. The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.).

Here is what people are saying:

“This legislation is absolutely essential to public safety. Senator Rockefeller’s bill begins to deliver the baseline foundation of sufficient radio spectrum and federal funding so that our nation can finally realize a nationwide, interoperable and mission-critical grade public safety broadband network.”

Mark Marshall, Chief of the Smithfield, VA Police Department and President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police

“The legislation that Chairman Rockefeller introduced will allow public safety to realize its nationwide communications goal by providing both the spectrum and funding which is required. I am joined in my support for this bill by members of the Public Safety Alliance which is committed to the build-out of this nationwide public safety broadband network. Our goal is supported by the seven national organizations representing state and local government as well as many of the leading telecommunications carriers and equipment manufacturers.”

Mr. Jeffrey D. Johnson, Chief Executive, Western Fire Chiefs Association and Former President, International Association of Fire Chiefs

“Interoperability needs to be coast to coast; border to border; urban, suburban, and rural. Public safety can no longer continue to operate without the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently amongst each other. The allocation of the D-Block to the public safety community is the significant and necessary step forward to achieve this goal; obtain interoperability; and create a nationwide public safety interoperable mobile broadband network. We thank Senator Rockefeller for his continued and unwavering support of the public safety community and strongly urge Senators to support this vital legislation.”

Paul H. Fitzgerald, Story County, IA Sheriff and First Vice President of the National Sheriffs’ Association and NSA’s representative on the Public Safety Alliance

“Ten years after 9-11, we still do not have a nationwide interoperable communications network for public safety professionals. Unfortunately, it has taken dramatic and devastating disasters to highlight this shortcoming. Allocation of the D-Block spectrum and the creating of a funding mechanism to support network build-out maintenance is exactly what we need to do in this year of the 10th anniversary of 9-11.”

Douglas C. Gillespie, Sherriff, Major County Sheriffs’ Association 

"The foremost concern going forward for the FOP and our friends at the IAFF was that rural and smaller agencies would be left without the resources to build out a network on the allotted spectrum or that they would be forced to deal with a single carrier. With the Vice President's help, these issues have been fully addressed and I have personally thanked him for his efforts. Despite the millions of 'influence dollars' spent by the industry to craft a bill that was unacceptable to law enforcement it is public safety's need, not corporate greed, that carried the day."

Chuck Canterbury, National President, Fraternal Order of Police

“We are grateful to Senator Rockefeller for his leadership on this issue, his willingness to listen to public safety and work with us to find a solution that will improve the way our nation’s first responders communicate when protecting and serving the public. This is a top priority for all of the public safety and other supporting entities of the alliance, and we remain resolute in our commitment to work with Congress, the Obama Administration, and others to secure adequate spectrum and funding as envisioned in this bill.”

Chris Moore, San Jose Police Chief 

“All Americans deserve to be able to live in communities that are safe and secure, and effective communications among police, fire, and other first responders are essential to this. We look forward to working with you on your efforts to secure the D-Block for America’s first responders and support the development of a nationwide public safety broadband network.”

United States Conference of Mayors

“Having advanced communications interoperability for our first responders and public safety officials is critical to securing the safety of our citizens, business and critical infrastructure. This will further assist the mission of municipalities, and provide the foundation for enhancing regional emergency planning, response and communications operations.”

Fred Abousleman, Executive Director, National Association of Regional Councils

“It’s critical that counties and all public safety agencies have maximum communications flexibility to respond effectively to emergencies and disasters. NACo has long supported sufficient wireless spectrum to be dedicated to public safety uses and on a sufficient scale to allow for national interoperable response.”

Larry E. Naake, Executive Director, National Association of Counties

“Public safety is neither seeking a profit, nor asking Congress to simply allocate invaluable and finite spectrum so they can simply browse web pages, post messages on Facebook and Twitter, and download streaming video from YouTube on their smart phones and i-Pads. Public safety, state and local government, CIOs, Technology Directors, and many other serious, educated, fiscally responsible leaders throughout our society, both management and rank-n-file, and both public and private sector interests, are asking Congress to allocate the spectrum to save lives, protect the public, and make our communities safer. This critical technology infrastructure is long overdue. It will support jobs in its construction, as well as dramatically improve the safety and effectiveness of millions of our country’s public servants and critical infrastructure community.”

Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials

"NAB is grateful for the wise leadership of Senator Rockefeller on an issue of critical importance to the millions of viewers who rely on free and local television. Broadcasters have no quarrel with incentive auctions that are truly voluntary, and the new legislation provides sound direction for that approach. We will work closely with Congress as it crafts spectrum legislation that preserves the ability of local TV stations to serve our viewers."

Gordon Smith, President and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters 

“This legislation is a common sense approach to provide dedicated capacity for the current and future needs of public safety. With advances in technology, public safety has an increasing need to access mission-critical, high-speed data and video networks. Fire services need real-time access to building blueprints, health-monitoring sensors, and GPS tracking systems. Emergency medical services need access to telemedicine, high-resolution video and patient records. Police need access to streaming video, surveillance networks, and biometric technologies like mobile fingerprint and iris identification. Federal government operations need to access data networks during large-scale incidents to coordinate federal assistance with states and localities.”

Larry Cohen, President, Communications Workers of America