NLC President Ted Ellis, mayor of Bluffton, IN, released the following statement regarding Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank's announcement regarding initial appointments to the Board of Directors for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The board will oversee the development of the Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN), a nationwide first responder communications network.
"Since well before September 11, 2001, cities have been urging the federal government to step up and help do what no private sector entity, state, or local government can do alone: build a dedicated nationwide, interoperable, and modern communications network for our first responders. With the appointment of the FirstNet Board, the Administration has taken an important step in implementing this vision.
"NLC congratulates the new members of the FirstNet Board. We are particularly pleased that former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and New York Police Department Deputy Chief Charles Dowd were selected for these appointments. They have years of municipal government experience that will be an invaluable resource to the board. Collectively, the board members announced today have the understanding of public safety, wireless networks, and the intergovernmental partnership necessary to ensure a nationwide PBSN becomes a reality.
"The announcement of the FirstNet board is a reminder that we can do big things when we act in the best interest of the country. Six months ago, Congress and the Administration enacted legislation that called for the creation of the PSBN. Now, we see the first steps in creating a major public good that will save lives, create long-term cost savings, and increase public safety in ways we have yet to imagine."
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.