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(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee Chairman Fred Scalera sponsored to create a statewide public safety interoperable communications council was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.
“In the years since Sept.11, we’ve learned a lot of things, including that we need to have better communication coordination and backup between emergency services,” said Scalera (D-Essex), a career firefighter. “With this legislation, we’re trying to do just that: create a totally integrated system that allows emergency service personnel to cross communicate on all bands – data, video and radio – across any system in the state through the use of wireless broadband.”
Under Scalera’s bill (A-2934) a Statewide Public Safety Communications Commission would be created in Office of Information Technology (OIT), replacing the current Public Safety Interoperable Communications Coordinating Council. This new commission would oversee the planning, design and implementation of New Jersey’s emergency enhanced 9-1-1 telephone system and the state’s Interoperable Communications System.
The bill also would create a Statewide Public Safety Communication Council – made up of first responders – to provide advice and assistance to the commission and OIT on these matters.
“We have a chance to be at the vanguard and do something that nobody’s been able to get right yet,” said Scalera. “Allowing for seamless communication during a storm, flood or other natural or man-made disaster, will help keep residents and first responders safe and informed, while serving as a model for the rest of the nation.
The measure was released unanimously. It now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.