NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly are calling for legislation to create a wireless broadband network that would let law-enforcement agencies communicate with each other during an emergency.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports: Improving Law Enforcement Communication

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New York City acted to improve coordination between the police and fire departments after the 2001 terror attacks, but Gillibrand and Kelly said the Police Department still needs a broadband network that would allow it to communicate with other agencies, including federal law enforcement.

“We must ensure that our officers, firefighters and emergency workers can effectively communicate with one another during a real time of national crisis,” Gillibrand said. “It’s time to bring our first responder technology into the 21st century.”

Deputy Chief James Dowd of the NYPD told WCBS 880 last month that the broadband network would “give us all the capabilities, not just two-way voice like we do now, but would give us the ability to do video, data, any type of information that we need to share regionally or nationally, we would be able to do on this network.”

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Interference and underground reception issues prevent many of the radios used by street cops from working in the subways.

“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,” Kelly said.

Gillibrand was a co-sponsor of a bill that would reserve part of the radio spectrum for first responders. She and Kelly were urging Congress to pass the bill before the 10th anniversary of the attacks this Sept. 11.

“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.

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