Reporting Peter Haskell
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.
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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.