FirstNet, now two years after its landmark launch, is showing significant growth with over 12,000 agencies now connected to its public safety network.
In a recent report, FirstNet shared how three law enforcement agencies have maximized their operations and improved overall incident outcomes using FirstNet.
One of the first agencies to utilize FirstNet is in Frederick, Maryland – the second largest city in the state. Host to several annual events, the city often struggled with network outages caused by large crowds and posing substantial risk to public safety. Since subscribing to FirstNet, the Frederick Police Department (FPD) now has access to additional resources, like temporary cell site deployables and Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SatCOLT), to keep officers connected.
“Requesting the FirstNet deployable was an easy process. The deployable was set up prior to the day of the event and tested to ensure adequate coverage for the event,” said FPD’s Lieutenant Aaron Lapp. “FirstNet gave us the confidence that communications from our command post would be sufficient for the public safety operations of this event.”
In Santa Clara County (CA), the sheriff’s office reported they “respond to roughly 25 requests for assistance each year, covering wilderness and urban search and rescue responses, support for major community events, and rope rescues on steep slopes.”
The Santa Clara County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SCCSSR) team partnered with FirstNet in 2019, to conduct a search and rescue exercise in a county park known for poor cellular coverage. FirstNet demonstrated its network capabilities by providing a mobile cell tower and a Flying Cell on Wheels – a tethered drone equipped with a connected link to the cell site.
Rusty Wackermann, Technical Rescue Coordinator for SCCSSR said, “With FirstNet, we’re able to get even better coverage than we’ve had before.”
Lastly, home to approximately 13,000 people, Sioux City, Nebraska utilizes FirstNet for its network speed and reliability. Providing mission-critical connectivity to the South Sioux City Police Department’s (SSCPD), patrol cars are equipped with units connected to FirstNet via WiFi. FirstNet enabled smartphones also keep officers connected to their computers.
SSCPD officers report a difference in working with technology connected to FirstNet, especially in network connection speed. “On speed test, the FirstNet network, once again, is out pacing the old system,” said Master Patrolman Gregory Koinzan. SSCPD is exploring additional ways to utilize the network, including leveraging push-to-talk over LTE and streaming live video from the patrol cars.
As FirstNet continues to build out its network, more first responders will be able to connect to each other and to the information they need to serve and protect their communities. For more information on FirstNet Authority’s public safety programs, visit FirstNet.gov.