01 July 2004

Policy Issues - SAFECOM Program

Policy Issues - SAFECOM Program

What is the problem?
– When public safety personnel cannot talk to each other by radio at the scene of an accident or a disaster, the problem often reflects lack of coordination and partnerships. Public safety agencies sometimes feel reluctant to coordinate or share communications systems because of "turf issues." Elected and appointed officials often do not fully understand the vital role interoperable communications play in protecting life and property. Local, tribal, state, and federal agencies generally lack opportunities to share experiences, develop common approaches, and identify best practices.

What has been done? – Government agencies at all levels are increasingly developing partnerships to support shared communications systems that improve interoperability, lower costs, and feature shared management and control. States are also beginning to establish executive-level committees to lead efforts to address interoperability issues.

What remains to be done?
– Information about the benefits of coordinated communications should be broadly and actively shared at all levels. Local, tribal, state, and federal agencies should form working groups or executive committees to coordinate interoperability activities, and government leaders should work with these groups by issuing appropriate policies or executive orders. Associations that represent government officials or public safety executives should commit themselves to supporting and working for interoperability. All of these groups can use Public Safety WINS: Wireless Interoperability National Strategy to pursue solutions to the technical and policy challenges to improving interoperability.

Public Safety Coordination and Partnerships Awareness Guide

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