Local

LA Gets $154M For Communications Upgrade

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(Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

(Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Be it an earthquake, wildfire or terrorist attack, the City of Angels is now better prepared for all types of hellish scenarios thanks to a $154.6 million federal grant.

Officials say the U.S. stimulus grant will fund the implementation of a region-wide radio
communications system aimed at improving coordination among public safety agencies.

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“Los Angeles County is home to 88 cities, 134 incorporated communities, 50 law enforcement agencies and 31 fire service agencies,” said county Supervisor Mike Antonovich. “This system will enable agencies to communicate across different jurisdictions with one voice.”

The grant for the L.A. Regional Interoperable Communications System is the largest grant of its type in the nation, according to Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice. She said the system would provide instantaneous communications among 34,000 first-responders in the region, providing them with access to the Internet, databases, broadband communications with 911 call
centers and more.

“It is welcome news to the residents of L.A. County, the largest county in America, which has seen wildfires, earthquakes and riots, and has the potential for tsunamis and major terror attacks,” Harman said. “With this grant, our ability to prevent, protect and respond to natural and man-made disasters will be dramatically enhanced.”

“But state-of-the-art regional emergency response, important as it is, still does not address the glaring need for a national interoperable emergency communications network — a project long stalled at the federal level and one that has been a priority of mine since 9/11,” she said.

The LA-RICS system is expected to be completed in three to five years, at a total cost of $700 million, according to the county.

“Whether challenges to our public safety operations are the result of natural or man-made factors, LA-RICS will provide vital communications resources to our entire network of law enforcement and public safety personnel,” said county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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