L.A. looks to create regional emergency radio system

The Los Angeles area is looking to develop a regional emergency radio system to allow for easier communications during a disaster.

A recent report reveals that such a system is feasible to build, but problems lie in its funding, said Kamton Joe, assistant general manager of the L.A. City Information Technology Agency.

The agency is trying to create an organization in the greater L.A. area to apply for federal funding from the Homeland Security Department, Joe said. “We have to show the feds that everybody’s on board,” he said.

The organization would include Los Angeles County, the city of Los Angeles and surrounding cities. “It’s kind of like a mini-Southern California,” Joe said.

The region plans to include local funding in its grant application. Joe estimates this project will take five to eight years.

James Carafano, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a homeland security scholar, said building such systems is a local responsibility.

“Communities should do what they need for an everyday emergency response,” he said. What Los Angeles is doing makes sense and represents good governance, he added.

But local governments should pay for emergency systems instead of relying on federal funding, Carafano said.

Common commercial standards should exist to ensure local and regional emergency systems’ compatibility with federal ones, he added.

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