New York City Gets $6M to Connect First Responders in New York, New Jersey

NEW YORK (AP) -- A $6 million federal grant will create a radio frequency that connects emergency responders in New York City with each other and with suburban counties in New York and New Jersey, city officials said Sunday.

The grant from the Department of Justice will create a regional command and control radio frequency for police, fire and emergency officials in New York City, as well as in Nassau, Westchester, and parts of Suffolk county in New York; and in Bergen, Hudson, Essex and parts of Passaic County in New Jersey.

''This grant will allow us to continue to build the most robust interoperable radio system anywhere in the country and this continued support helps keep New York the most prepared city in the nation,'' said Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno.

The UHF analog radio frequency will connect 16 million people on an emergency communication network, officials said.

In New York, it will connect the city police and fire department, the Office of Emergency Management, as well as Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police.

The Sept. 11 commission has described major flaws in the city's emergency response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including the failure of police and fire officials to communicate effectively.

''One of the lessons we learned four years ago was the need for a regional approach to addressing large-scale disasters,'' said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.

The city said it would make three of its six existing emergency response channels available to other regional agencies during large-scale emergencies.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press