A nationwide interoperable broadband network could actually work, says Politico. The Republican convention in Tampa marked the first time law enforcement personnel were able to use the type of system envisioned by policymakers since the Sept. 11 attacks highlighted critical weaknesses in first-responder communications. Vendors and public safety officials hope the lessons can be applied nationwide. The communications system used during the convention, which relied on several vendors and used off-the-shelf technology, allowed coordination for the public safety network over 15 jurisdictions, all for a high-profile event that had the added complication of a passing hurricane. It was the first time federal, state, and local first responders have simultaneously used a 700-MHz D-block broadband network for what is called a National Special Security Event. The network was deployed under special temporary authority from the Federal Communications Commission.
Sgt. Dale Moushon of the St. Petersburg Police Department intelligence unit said it allowed police to operate faster and more efficiently than they could have using their old-style primary system. “From an operational perspective, it's huge,” Moushon said. “To be able to communicate that much data with the Tampa P.D. or the Clearwater P.D. is a huge help.” Moushon said the network put law enforcement on the same footing as the bad guys who now use all the fancy, high-tech gear that is commercially available. Police officers in departments like his often use their own personal equipment for texting and other such applications, even though it's unsecured.