(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that the $500,000 she included in a 2010 spending bill to improve communications at the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office has been included in the final version of the bill. This funding will support the construction of a new radio communications tower, which will enhance deputies’ ability to communicate with each other and with other law enforcement agencies during emergencies. The final version of the spending bill came out of a conference committee between the Senate and the House and is expected to pass both bodies shortly before being sent to the President for his signature.
"Our families depend on local police and fire fighters communicating with each other and working efficiently to protect their communities during emergencies,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This funding is a strong step toward ensuring that the Pierce County Sheriff’s office has the resources it needs to protect our communities, and that our communications technology keeps pace with our public safety needs.”
“First responders must be able to efficiently communicate during times of critical incidents to ensure the lives of our citizens and protection of our first responders,” said Sheriff Paul Pastor.
Currently, Pierce County has several disparate radio systems which do not allow easy interoperability. There is a need for improved operable communications and interoperable communications in Pierce County which will take advantage of new technology.
This funding will support Pierce County law enforcement and fire agencies as they move toward developing a true regional interoperable communications system and consolidated 911 dispatch centers. The project will also fit into the Washington State Emergency Interoperability Communication (SIEC) Plan and within the Puget Sound Emergency Interoperability Communication (PSEIC) Plan.
The funding was included in the fiscal year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Senator Murray is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.