WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was calling for passage of legislation she said will make it easier for the hundreds of police and fire agencies around New York to communicate with each other during emergencies.

Gillibrand was backing legislation that would set aside airwaves for first responders to build a nationwide wireless broadband network so they could communicate seamlessly with each other.

The 9/11 Commission Report pointed to shortcomings in the communications systems used by first responders during the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City in 2001.

Gillibrand said the 1,791 fire departments and 568 police departments in New York state cannot all communicate effectively with each other during emergencies.

“The lack of a common radio spectrum prevents us from having a seamless system across the nation and the fact is that a 16-year-old with a smart phone has more advanced communications capability than a police officer with one of these radios,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

“It’s not a Democratic or Republican idea it’s just a good idea and it’s an idea that is in response to an urgent crisis of keeping this community safe,” Gillibrand said.

What do you make of the notion of a seamless wireless network for first responders? Sound off in our comments section below…

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