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Thompson and Lowey Recommend Interoperability Grant Program to Support Communication Among First Responders

Today, the Department of Homeland Security rolled out their findings of the “Tactical Interoperability Communications Initiative,” a scorecard measuring emergency communication capabilities in 75 of our nation’s cities. The Department found that while communications between first responders is strong during times of emergency, there is much to be done to fill several critical gaps we became all too familiar with on 9/11 and during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman-Designate of the House Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement in response to the findings:

“It’s been five years since 9/11 and we still have a long way to go. Time and again, the lack of interoperable communication has hindered the ability of our first responders to successfully do their jobs. The only way to truly address this problem is to create an interoperability grant program that provides guidance and exclusive funding for states and cities to wisely build out their communications systems without forcing them to choose between funding their bridges and water supply.”

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), the author of legislation to provide federal grants dedicated to interoperable communications equipment, made the following statement:

“This report once again proves that more must be done to better equip first responders. New York, which remains the most likely target of a future terrorist attack, does not have the tools it needs to ensure that fire fighters and police officers can most effectively communicate at the scene of an emergency. The federal government must fill this gaping hole in preparedness so that in the next emergency, our first responders can better protect Americans. In the coming weeks, I will fight to pass legislation to finally establish a federal grant program for interoperable communications.”

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For More Information:
Please contact Dena Graziano or Todd Levett at (202) 226-2616

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

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