In Wake of Bin Laden's Execution, PSA Pushes for Public Safety Legislation

According to the Public Safety Alliance (PSA), thousands of public safety officers applauded the bi-partisan, long-term effort of the Obama and Bush Administrations for the May 2 execution of al Qaeda lead terrorist Osama bin Laden – but additional legislation is needed to ensure these responders can continue their work safely and effectively.

“This is a great day for America,” said Sean Kirkendall, PSA spokesman, about the capture and execution of bin Laden. “Bipartisan congressional support and the unwavering commitment of our federal government over two administrations … allowed the hard work of our dedicated public servants here and abroad to make this day of justice come to fruition.”

To help first responders work effectively going forward, however, Kirkendall said that Congress quickly must pass legislation recommended by the 9/11 Commission. H.R.607 - Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011, and its companion bill, S.28, Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, would facilitate a high-speed wireless broadband network for public safety.

“Congress must provide our first responders with the tools they need to make our nation safe and to effectively respond to emergency incidents, both great and small, natural or man-made. Passing current legislation in Congress, S.28 and H.R.607, before the 10th anniversary of 9/11 must be a top priority for all of Congress,” Kirkendall stated.

9/11 Commission Chairmen Speak Out

During a March 30 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, the former chairmen of the 9/11 Commission outlined what the federal government and Congress can do to help first responders safely and successfully do their jobs.

In their testimony, Thomas Kean, the former New Jersey governor who served as chairman of the 9/11 Commission, and Lee Hamilton, former Indiana congressman who served as the commission’s vice chair, stressed that first responders’ inability to communicate with each other on 9/11 was “a critical failure.”

They recommended “legislation to provide for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes” and called for the immediate institution of the D-block spectrum to improve communication.

“We must not approach these urgent matters at a leisurely pace,” the chairmen explained in their testimony. “We don’t know when the next attack or disaster will strike. Further delay is intolerable. We urge the Congress to act.”

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