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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Renews Push For Advanced Network For Emergency Communications

NYC police officer with radio (file / credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

NYC police officer with radio (file / credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

diamond_feature Marla Diamond
I began my career at WCBS in the fall of 1997 as the station's New...
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) is hoping the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will compel Congress to finally act on a bill devoting open radio spectrum to the nation’s first responders.

WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond On Staten Island


“[It] would finally enable our first responders to communicate across all jurisdictions, sharing critical data, such as video feeds and up-to-date information in real time,” she said on Staten Island Thursday. “Our first responders do not have all the tools they need to be able to do their jobs. The status quo is unacceptable.”

Gillibrand was joined by New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and fire commissioner Sal Cassano at Engine 160 Rescue 5, a Staten Island fire house that lost eleven men on 9/11.

“We take away many lessons learned from that day. The most important lesson was we need as much information as we can and get it to the first responders on the scene, and this bill will allow that to happen,” said Cassano.

Kelly said 9/11 brought in first responders from all across the country.

“It was sort of a mini Dunkirk on the Hudson. However, we simply were not able to communicate with each other,” said Kelly.

Lawmakers have balked at the $12 billion price tag, but Gillibrand says the legislation pays for itself by auctioning off unused spectrum.