Government Technology
By Bill Schrier: Making technology work for a city government.

FirstNet - Cats and Dogs Living Together

June 28, 2012 By

FirstNet - Public Safety WirelessI’m attending the “Preparing for Public Safety Broadband” workshop hosted by the National Governors’ Association outside of Washington DC today. We’re discussing the States’ (and cities and counties) role in constructing the Nationwide Public Safety wireless Broadband Network (NPSBN), authorized by Congress in February and funded with $7 billion from sale of spectrum. More background on the network is here.

This workshop has about 200 participants with 49 states are represented and quite a number of chief information officers, but also police chiefs, fire chiefs and coordinators of the more traditional statewide land-mobile radio networks used by responders.

Chuck Dowd, Deputy Chief of Communications for NYPD talked on a panel about how remarkable this is – that Mayors and Governors, police chiefs and fire chiefs, agree on the importance of this network. And they all worked together with the Obama Administration and Congress to get the Spectrum Act passed earlier this year.

But, in many senses, the most difficult part of constructing the NPSBN is still ahead. Mistrust between government agencies and functions are historically rampant. The budget crisis of the Great Recession has exacerbated his mistrust, as every agency’s budget has been squeezed.

States don’t trust City and County governments, who may have only their own individual interests in mind. Rural areas don’t trust urban areas. Departments within State governments don’t trust each other – every department often has its own computer servers and applications and even email systems. Cities and counties, in turn, mistrust their States who, they feel, are always trying to take money and dictate unfunded mandates.

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John Contestabile    |    Commented June 29, 2012

Right on Bill!! while you were at the NGA workshop, I was in Denver working with the NPSTC folks drafting the Statement of Requirements for the network...similar challenging effort, but, if done right, will be a real pathway to what is truly needed. We must remain optimistic that, despite our differences, we can come together on this effort....we must, for our own safety and security!

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