Kelly, Gillibrand Call for Emergency Wireless Network
By Ben Fractenberg
MIDTOWN — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are calling for Congress to adopt a nationwide wireless system before the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 to help law enforcement better respond to a major crisis or terrorist attack.
"The technology that we use is rapidly becoming obsolete," Kelly said.
The NYPD commissioner said the lack of a universal frequency used by multiple agencies was the main stumbling block. He also said the two-way radios currently used by first responders are out of date because they don't exchange electronic data.
"The lack of a common radio spectrum prevents us from having a seamless system across the nation," he said. "The fact is a 16 year old with a smart phone has more advanced communication capability than a police officer with one of these radios."
If passed, the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act would allow the NYPD and federal agencies to share real-time video feeds and photographs, allowing officers, for example, to get digital snapshots of suspects, advocates of the bill say.
Gillibrand said the technology is "available now" and that they just need a dedicated server to allow local, state and federal agencies to communicate on one spectrum.
"New York City remains the number one target for terrorists around the world who want to harm Americans," Gillibrand said. "Nearly 10 years after 9/11, it's time to bring our first responder technology into the 21st century."