On March 27, the State of Arizona held a public safety broadband forum for first responders, public administrators, and IT support personnel to discuss FirstNet and its impact on the state’s public safety broadband needs. More than 60 local, state, and federal public safety officials gathered in Phoenix to hear from government and industry leaders about the latest developments in FirstNet’s capabilities, discuss their network operational needs, and learn about recent FirstNet use cases.
The forum included a public safety panel discussion with Andy Seybold, Andrew Seybold Inc.; Scott Edson, Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS); Randy Thompson, City of Mesa; Kevin Rogers, Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS); and Morgan Hoaglin, Arizona Division of Emergency Management.
Kevin Rogers, program manager for the Arizona DPS Technical Services Division, shared his experience during a FirstNet push-to-talk demonstration at the Arizona State Fair in October 2018. Arizona DPS deployed 50 devices to local first responders to communicate over FirstNet. The network proved successful, enabling first responders to share images to locate lost children, better track troopers, and locate counterfeit ticket sales. Participants were able to talk with current FirstNet subscribers about their experience on the network, including the cost, coverage, equipment, and installation.
The forum also provided an opportunity for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) to engage with Arizona public safety leaders on the FirstNet Authority Roadmap, a guiding document that will drive future investments in public safety technologies. Through events such as this, the FirstNet Authority is meeting with hundreds of public safety officials to gather input that will inform the development of the Roadmap.
At the Arizona forum, much of the conversation focused on rural coverage, interoperability, customer service, and device management. The dialogue presented an opportunity for FirstNet Authority representatives to gain a better understanding of the communications needs that are specific to the state of Arizona and its public safety agencies. FirstNet Authority Fire Services Subject Matter Expert Mike Worrell explained, “This information is critical as we develop the FirstNet Authority Roadmap. Hearing directly from first responders will ensure future network enhancements reflect their needs and priorities.”
Thank you to Arizona DPS for hosting this event and inviting us to participate. Through a series of upcoming nationwide events, the FirstNet Authority will continue to use the Roadmap framework to learn about public safety’s network operational needs, such as coverage and capacity, situational awareness, voice communications, secure information exchange, and user experience. If you are interested in participating in a FirstNet Authority engagement, you can find your Public Safety Advisor here.