By Mike Bostic, FirstNet Senior Law Enforcement Advisor
Last week concluded sequential winter legislative meetings of the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), and Major County Sheriffs’ Association (MCSA), bringing together the nation’s law enforcement leaders for this annual event in Washington, D.C. The week of meetings also showcased briefings from leadership from the new Administration, which used the opportunity to emphasize its support to American law enforcement and public safety.
Members of the FirstNet leadership had the opportunity to participate in events throughout the week to continue our dialogue with public safety about the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. Hennepin County Sheriff and FirstNet Board Member Rich Stanek delivered remarks at the NSA Homeland Security Committee, of which he serves as chair, the Global Policing Affairs Committee, and many of the MCSA committees over the week.
In addition, FirstNet President TJ Kennedy and I provided updates on FirstNet to the NSA’s Executive Board, the MCCA, and MCSA. We all stressed how law enforcement’s continued involvement was vital to the successful design and implementation of the network, so that it will meet their needs.
Sheriff Stanek says the “excitement is building” for FirstNet throughout the law enforcement community. “What FirstNet has been able to do to educate chiefs and sheriffs across this country, and really bringing it down to the line officer, the line deputy and first responders, has been tremendous,” he says. “We are going to have a nationwide, interoperable broadband system that will provide exactly what my deputies need who are out on the road every day.”
In addition, FirstNet was joined by key advocates for the Network at last week’s meetings, including Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) Chairman, Chief (Ret.) Harlin McEwen, and Louisiana state Single Point of Contact (SPOC) and State Police Director Colonel Mike Edmonson. Both emphasized the urgency to get involved, and the value FirstNet will bring to law enforcement.
It was also great to see so many Sheriffs from around country who are involved with FirstNet in their states, including Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Chief Scott Edson, who is the Vice Chair of the NSA Emerging Tech & CJIS Committee, and Calhoun County, Alabama Sheriff (Ret.) Larry Amerson, who serves as NSA’s representative to the PSAC.
Thanks to all those with NSA, MCCA, and MCSA for the opportunity to discuss the advantages of a FirstNet network to policing. As NSA President Sheriff Greg Champagne said, “Sheriffs & Deputies – [are] the original homeland security,” and we look forward to continue working with our nation’s law enforcement personnel.
To hear more please view the following video: