This is the latest in a blog series highlighting the associations of the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). PSAC members represent associations and agencies from all public safety disciplines, as well as state, territorial, tribal, and local governments. Together, they provide guidance and recommendations to the FirstNet Authority in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. The PSAC’s input is invaluable to the development of FirstNet, the nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) was established in 1935 to assist county governments in building safe and vibrant communities across the nation. With over 2,300 counties represented, NACo advocates for over 80 percent of the country’s population. NACo coordinates among multiple levels of government to solve problems and serve the needs of the local public. The assistance that NACo provides to counties includes legislative, research, and technical services, such as creating accessible reports and toolkits, and hosting discussions to tackle unique county issues.
As a part of its commitment to local counties, NACo works closely with all types of public safety organizations. With these collaborative efforts, the association lays the groundwork for establishing local priorities and aligning resources to achieve public safety goals.
Sheriff Len Humphries serves as the representative for NACo on the FirstNet Authority’s PSAC. As a sheriff in Fremont County, Idaho, Humphries recognizes how vital an interoperable broadband network is for law enforcement and other first responders to protect and serve their communities. Sheriff Humphries has a long history of advocating for public safety officials to communicate efficiently and effectively when emergencies occur.
“Fremont County is a very popular recreation destination since we are next to Yellowstone National Park, and we have hundreds of thousands of visitors traveling through our county every year,” explained Sheriff Humphries. “Thanks to the network provided through FirstNet, our digital communications have improved significantly.”
Access to fast and reliable information is critical during an emergency, and with the implementation of the FirstNet network, local counties play a role in and benefit from the advancement of emergency communications. Through his participation on the PSAC, Sheriff Humphries helps give local county leaders a voice in ensuring the FirstNet network addresses their emergency communication needs.
“When I learned about FirstNet I thought that the concept was greatly needed, but I had doubts that it could be accomplished, especially in the more rural areas of the country. I was then asked to represent NACo on the PSAC, and that has helped me to give a voice for all rural counties,” said Sheriff Humphries. “FirstNet has not forgotten us, and I am very pleased with the coverage that has been provided for my county and the rest of rural America.”
The FirstNet Authority is committed to growing and evolving the FirstNet network to meet the changing needs of public safety. Through engagement with NACo and other organizations on the PSAC, the FirstNet Authority continues to learn how it can help county government officials better integrate broadband to enhance the safety and health of their communities.
Learn more about how FirstNet is transforming public safety communications — contact your local FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor and sign up for our discipline newsletters. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest FirstNet Authority updates.
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