PUBLIC SAFETY SPECTRUM

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes that when public safety officials representing different disciplines and jurisdictions converge onto a single scene, they must be able to share information quickly; and

WHEREAS, local police departments, fire departments and emergency medical teams are usually the first responders to an emergency; and

WHEREAS, these first responders are under increasing pressures from both natural disasters and terrorist threats; and

WHEREAS, it has been recognized for years that first responders often do not have the tools to communicate effectively in an emergency, both to their colleagues inside their organization and to other departments and agencies; and

WHEREAS, this lack of interoperability between agencies can severely hinder public-safety officials in providing a coordinated response to critical incidents; and

WHEREAS, the 800 MHZ band is notorious for interference problems between public safety spectrum and commercial users; and

WHEREAS, the current 800 MHZ band is insufficient to meet increasing voice and data needs and will not meet future needs under projected population growth and demographic changes; and

WHEREAS, there is 24 MHZ of spectrum set aside for public safety use in the 700 MHZ band as part of television broadcasters' transition to digital television; and

WHEREAS, the replacement cost of the aging public safety wireless infrastructure is more than $18 billion; and

WHEREAS, the cost of public safety radio infrastructure and equipment is a tremendous burden on local governments,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges that the 24 MHZ of spectrum in the 700 MHZ band be made available for local public safety uses as quickly as possible; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors requests that the federal government assists local governments with the tremendous cost of outfitting public safety agencies with communications hardware that facilitates interoperable communications between a variety of agencies.