Peter Koutoujian headshot; a police officer using a laptop in the front seat of a cruiser

FirstNet Authority Board member looks at the future of FirstNet

The FirstNet Authority’s law enforcement expert, Harry Markley, recently sat down with Sheriff Peter Koutoujian who leads the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office in Massachusetts. Sheriff Koutoujian was appointed in October by the Secretary of Commerce to serve on the FirstNet Authority Board. The discussion covered the sheriff’s approach to law enforcement, his views on FirstNet’s value, and what he hopes to accomplish on the Board.

A public safety officer and a FirstNet Authority staff member speak with each other overlooking a Navajo reservation

FirstNet extended coverage brings critical connectivity to Tribal lands

Bringing broadband to Tribal responders has always been a priority for the FirstNet Authority. When Board members visited the Navajo Nation – which spans Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah – they learned how deployables and expanded coverage are bringing interoperability to the tribe’s emergency communications. FirstNet has played an important role during major events like the pandemic response and a visit from the First Lady of the United States.

A FirstNet SatCOLT parked in Inglewood, California; a football in the middle of a stadium field

Scoring a win with FirstNet Authority pre-planning support

First responders at any size event depend on reliable communication to ensure a successful and safe outcome. In preparation for the Super Bowl in 2022, Los Angeles area public safety agencies’ used the FirstNet Authority’s pre-planning event support to help maximize broadband capabilities. This free and unique service from the FirstNet Authority resulted in more timely and efficient decision-making, better coordinated responses, and well-managed resources and logistics.

A police officer using a smartphone in the front seat of a patrol vehicle

From the Command Center: South Dakota interoperability coordinator Jeff Pierce examines the past, present, and future of public safety comms

Jeff Pierce has served for decades as South Dakota’s statewide interoperability coordinator and engineering manager for the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications. On the brink of retirement, Pierce shares his vantage point looking at the past, present, and future of public safety communications. No matter where Pierce looks, he sees interoperability as the key to effective public safety communications.

Three students seated at table work on laptops; man in firefighter uniform wears virtual reality headset and holds virtual reality hand controllers; group of six individuals poses for photo in firefighter uniforms during prize challenge real-world simulation; two students sit at tables working on computers; woman in virtual reality headset with virtual reality controllers in hand; man helps another person in firefighter uniform set up equipment on torso; FirstNet Authority advisor speaks to group of student

How PSCR and the FirstNet Authority are Connected for Public Safety

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) frequently collaborates with the First Responder Network Authority to advance public safety communications. Whether partnering on prize challenges, standards development, R&D testing, or the Public Safety Immersive Test Center, the two organizations are working together to spur technology development for first responders.

A 911 operator demonstrating FirstNet remote 911 capability at a conference

Putting FirstNet to the test for remote 9-1-1 operations

One thing the 9-1-1 community learned from the pandemic was the need to plan for alternate ways to work. Rather than be tied to workstations at fixed locations, 9-1-1 telecommunicators need flexibility to remotely take, dispatch, and supervise calls. In December 2021, Maryland telecommunicators put FirstNet to the test, demonstrating the network’s connectivity and reliability during remote operations.

A group of Sacramento Fire Department firefighters standing in front of a fire engine

First Responder Communication Proves Critical During Earthquake Response Exercise

Local and state public agencies and hundreds of attendees gathered in Sonoma to participate in a full-scale earthquake response exercise hosted by the California National Guard and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services Fire Rescue Branch. At the response exercise, FirstNet was onsite to ensure that technology ran smoothly and supplied deployable assets like High Power User Equipment, or devices that have a cellular modem enabling users to connect to a cellular network.


A police officer choosing an image to send on his FirstNet enabled smartphone

Testing FirstNet’s mission-critical tech in the real world

How do FirstNet’s Z-Axis and Push-To-Talk work in real-life scenarios? The FirstNet Authority partnered with the Major County Sheriffs of America to conduct a technology trial of these capabilities. By putting the technology into the hands of officers on the job, we can evaluate its real-world usability, discover any adjustments needed, and plan for future upgrades.

Command Center logo; Captain John Vallarelli headshot; a New York subway train stopped on the platform with open doors

From the Command Center: A Conversation with Captain John Vallarelli, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department

Enhancing communications for public safety has been at the heart Captain John Vallarelli’s career. As he rose through the ranks of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department in New York, he oversaw many aspects of the agency’s communications systems, and he was instrumental in supporting interoperability for officers using the regional radio system and FirstNet.