9/11 Advocates In Washington Pushing For Emergency Radio Support

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – First responders from New York and around the country are continuing to push for better and more effective communication as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks approaches.

A group of 9/11 responders will be in Washington Wednesday trying to convince lawmakers to pass legislation which would provide law enforcement agencies with interoperable radio airwaves necessary to effectively communicate with each other during an emergency.

“We learned that important bills take a back seat to bills that have nothing to do with this one,” said former demolition worker John Feal.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Rockefeller and Charles Schumer and Rep. Peter King will also be joining the group.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell On The Story

Following the 2001 terror attacks, New York City worked to improve coordination between police and fire departments, however, officials say more work still needs to be done.

Gillibrand and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have been working vigorously for months to get the nationwide broadband network which would allow communication with other agencies, including federal law enforcement, in motion.

Currently, first responders across the nation operate on different radio frequencies which prevents them from sharing information in real time with each other.

“Cops and firefighters have tools that they go to work with everyday whether its their guns, their axes or their hoses,” said Feal. “Those tools don’t mean anything unless they have the proper communication and that’s what this bill will ensure.”

Kelly had previously said that teenagers has more communication capability with a smartphone that the average police officer or firefighter has.

Opponents of the nationwide network say the emergency frequency would lead to interference for television stations.

More from Peter Haskell
  • Michael H.

    The Republican response to this: They already have enough spectrum dedicated to emergency responders”

    The GOP tried to block the Zadroga bill and now theyre trying to make sure more fire fighters and police officers die the next time something big happens. The GOP got their wars, now they don’t give a darn about the victims.

    • Paul Westchester N.Y.

      This man John Feal has done nothing for responders in 3 yrs when you call they say they have no money to help.where is all the money he has collected look into this guy really ask any responder in need they will tell you the same.there needs to be a audit for this group.

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