This post is a part of the Public Safety Advocacy Team blog series, introducing you to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) public safety advocacy team. The series also covers the North team, the Central team, and the East team.
Helping public safety communicate is the heart of the FirstNet Authority’s mission. Our Public Safety Advocacy team works closely with public safety agencies throughout the western region to understand and address their unique communication challenges. The Public Safety Advocacy team for the West includes a law enforcement subject matter expert, an emergency medical subject matter expert, and public safety advisors covering a dispersed area of four states and three territories:
Northern Mariana Islands
Spanning a distance of over 6,000 miles, the region encompasses a wide swath of public safety challenges. From deadly wildfires in California to the threat of tsunamis in Guam to support for high profile, large planned events in Arizona, the region experiences a wide range of communication challenges that demand a network with the resiliency and capacity of FirstNet. The FirstNet Authority works in support of public safety agencies responding to emergencies, extreme weather, and large events, and in their everyday efforts to protect communities and save lives. The West region is staffed with a team of experienced public safety professionals who work with first responders to understand their unique communication challenges. In 2019, the FirstNet Authority hosted almost 200 engagements with the states and territories in the western region to collect feedback and ideas for how public safety can benefit from a dedicated nationwide broadband network.
Mike Worrell is Area Director for the West region and leads the team of senior public safety advisors who work with first responders in the area. In addition, Mike is the FirstNet Authority’s subject matter expert for fire service for all 56 states and territories. Mike guides a team of FirstNet Authority staff with experience in law enforcement, emergency medical service and fire service who work on issues important to all public safety responders.
Mike says, “First responders deserve FirstNet because they deserve to be safer on the job, so they can all go home at the end of their shifts.”
Mike served 29 years with the Phoenix Fire Department, and his last position there was technical services division chief. He was also a member of the national urban search and rescue incident support team, a qualified communications unit leader, and a communications technician instructor. Before he joined the fire department, Mike was an electronics technician in the Navy’s submarine service.
Chris Baker is the Senior Public Safety Advisor working with public safety in Northern California to understand how FirstNet impacts operations in the state. He is also a fire and aviation subject matter expert at the FirstNet Authority.
Chris says, “I’m excited to work with my old friends and new colleagues to continue improving public safety communications, always a passion of mine.”
Chris brings 33 years of experience in fire, law enforcement, and emergency medical services, and has worked as an electrical engineer in the cellular industry, building cellular networks and test systems. He retired from the Roseville (CA) Fire Department as a battalion chief and investigator. Chris remains active as chief officer and strike team leader in Plumas County, CA.
David Faulkner, Senior Public Safety Advisor, is responsible for Arizona and Nevada. Engaging with public safety is one of David’s favorite parts of his job, especially as a former law enforcement officer.
David says, “I still have many friends in law enforcement and fire. With my job at the FirstNet Authority, I am excited to work on a project that will make it safer for my friends still in public safety.”
David joined the FirstNet Authority in 2016 after 33 years with the Phoenix Police Department. During his tenure he held a range of positions including working in gang and narcotic investigations. He served as commander of the violent crime bureau, supervised 911 call centers, and oversaw the buildout of a $120 million 800 MHz radio system.
Harry Markley, Senior Public Safety Advisor, is the FirstNet Authority’s subject matter expert for law enforcement for all 56 states and territories. Harry guides a team of FirstNet Authority staff with experience in law enforcement who work on issues of importance to policing. Harry understands the challenges of law enforcement after more than 30 years in the field.
Harry says, “I’m excited about continuing my relationship with law enforcement and providing them with a voice as we build out this network to meet public safety’s needs.”
Harry retired as assistant chief for the Phoenix Police Department. During his career he worked in patrol, training, and narcotics, as a laboratory administrator, and commander of the police academy and SWAT team. He commanded two police precincts. Through it all, he is most proud of the time spent as a young beat cop making a difference as boots on the ground in the community where he grew up and still lives.
Kevin Nida, Senior Public Safety Advisor, is responsible for outreach to the public safety community in Southern California. Kevin brings his deep background in public safety from his service in fire, EMS, 9-1-1, and law enforcement to every discussion about FirstNet.
Kevin says, “Having worked through more than three decades of major emergencies, including earthquakes, civil disturbance, scores of brush fires, and Hurricane Katrina, I know that reliable voice communications is the ‘bread and butter’ of public safety.”
Kevin joined the FirstNet Authority in February of 2017 after retiring as a battalion chief from the Los Angeles Fire Department. During his 40-year career in public service, he served as a communications unit leader and communications technician, in urban search and rescue communications, and with the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) broadband technology opportunities LTE program.
Kenison Tejada, Senior Public Safety Advisor, serves public safety and first responders in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as they carry out their missions of helping our citizens. Kenison’s relationships with Hawaii’s public safety community have served as a strong foundation for his role at the FirstNet Authority.
Kenison says, “I have continually encouraged public safety agencies to make new and future communications technology a high priority, to address the issues now rather than later.”
Kenison joined the FirstNet Authority in 2019 after 32 years with the Honolulu Fire Department. His last seven years with the department were as fire communications battalion chief, when he worked to optimize communications and coordinate statewide emergency communications. One of the biggest rewards for Kenison was seeing Hawaii’s public safety agencies come together in an emergency communications community.
Brent Williams, Senior Public Safety Advisor, is the FirstNet Authority’s subject matter expert for emergency medical services (EMS) for all 56 states and territories. Brent guides a team of FirstNet Authority staff with experience in EMS who work on issues important to paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
Brent says, “I tell my EMS colleagues to think big when it comes to using FirstNet. The benefits that FirstNet can provide are very real, but today we are only using broadband very sparingly compared to what is possible with a network as ubiquitous and powerful as FirstNet.”
Brent started his career as a paramedic working for a private EMS group and later joined the Ingham County Sheriff Department in Michigan as a police officer/paramedic. After more than three decades as a first responder in the field, Brent went to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services as an EMS radio communications expert. He is also a longstanding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s SAFECOM Emergency Response Council.
Mike, Chris, David, Harry, Kevin, Kenison, and Brent work together to support public safety in the West region, to better understand how FirstNet’s dedicated network can advance emergency communications, and to advance solutions for emergency communications. They’re available to talk to agencies and individuals about FirstNet.
Do you have feedback or questions about public safety communications in your community? Contact your local public safety advisor.