By Dave Buchanan, FirstNet Director of State Consultation
FirstNet conducted the Initial Consultation meeting for Oregon at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) yesterday in Salem. During our time here, the FirstNet team met with key public safety leaders from across the state, including Steve Noel, Oregon's state single point of contact (SPOC) and statewide interoperability coordinator. Nearly 90 state and local public safety representatives from across the state attended to learn more about FirstNet and to share information with FirstNet about the state’s planning efforts and needs for the broadband network.
One of the key elements of the Initial Consultation meetings is for FirstNet to gain knowledge about the state and the public safety communications challenges public safety has experienced, and where they see opportunities for FirstNet. The Oregon meeting included several of these opportunities. Consistent with the Maryland and Minnesota consultation meetings, reviewing “real world” examples of communications systems used during emergencies is helpful for FirstNet to understand the unique needs of a state’s first responders.
Many state and local public safety representatives provided updates from the state and discussed current strategies to leverage broadband capabilities in Oregon and how the public safety broadband network will benefit first responders. Chief Mike Duyck from the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, talked about how a robust network can enhance operational capabilities for his department and the ability to leverage technology to be a force multiplier of human resources and budgets. Cheryl Bledsoe, from the Clackamas County 9-1-1 office discussed how the cellular network, social media & the use of the data network were all integral to the response in the Clackamas Shooting from 2012.
In addition, the Oregon team brought an example of a public safety agency that has already begun to use mobile data. Sergeant Rick Kennedy and Jenny Hall from the Jackson County Sheriff department provided a live-demo of their communications network via their public safety mobile communications vehicle. This network includes public safety applications, video connected to their command center, and has the capability to connect law enforcement officers with live streaming videos from helicopters and other camera locations. Their network, supported by existing wireless carries, cannot provide the bandwidth necessary to allow these applications and data to operate for mission critical events. Sgt. Kennedy spoke about how critical FirstNet will be to Jackson County, to provide the capacity necessary to allow their communications network to become fully operable during times of emergency.
This meeting laid a strong foundation for a continued relationship with our public safety stakeholders in Oregon. The meeting included a robust dialog about FirstNet, our acquisition planning, and our consultation process. Steve Noel said he was glad we had a chance to “roll up our sleeves and work together." I couldn’t agree more. Thank you to Steve and the entire Oregon team for a great meeting.
View photos from the meeting below: