This is the latest in a series of blogs highlighting the associations of FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). The PSAC consists of members representing associations and agencies from all disciplines of public safety, as well as state, territorial, tribal, and local governments, and provides guidance and recommendations to FirstNet in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. Its input is invaluable to the development of the FirstNet network.
The over one million law enforcement officers employed in the United States represent the largest class of potential FirstNet network customers. They have and will continue to shape the functionality of the FirstNet network through their recommendations and discipline-specific needs. A major voice for police chiefs and law enforcement personnel is the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
With over 27,000 members, the IACP has both a presence and expertise that FirstNet can leverage to gain input on and support for the FirstNet network. The IACP
has been instrumental in moving new technologies forward in the past, such as the national use of fingerprint identification. It also has been vital in the
development of FirstNet, notably through the IACP’s representative on the PSAC, Chief (Ret.) Harlin McEwen.
A longtime advocate for public safety communications and an early leader in the development of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), Chief McEwen is currently the PSAC Chairman. In addition to serving on the PSAC, Chief McEwen is the former longtime chair of the IACP’s Communications and Technology Committee and brings his expertise from working with this group to the PSAC’s various working groups, focus groups, and tasking efforts.
Since its creation, FirstNet has been actively engaged with the IACP, presenting and engaging police chiefs across the country numerous times at IACP conferences and events. This year’s IACP Annual Conference and Exposition was held October 15-18 in San Diego, California. FirstNet Board Chair Sue Swenson and President TJ Kennedy spoke at several meeting sessions, and FirstNet staff discussed with IACP members the benefits that the FirstNet network can provide to them. Chief McEwen said he was pleased with the efforts of FirstNet to continue the education of IACP members regarding the status and benefits of the NPSBN. It was obvious that there was a high level of interest by the members attending the conference.
By providing a fully interoperable and prioritized network with applications and devices targeted specifically for law enforcement use, FirstNet will fundamentally change the way law enforcement officers operate.