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Day concerned over hold placed by Governor Nixon on emergency services contract

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Jan. 23, 2009) — State Rep. David Day (R-Dixon) has expressed concerns about a recent decision by Gov. Jay Nixon to place a hold on a contract which would provide for the installation of an interoperability system for first responders.

The previous administration signed a contract with Motorola which would have given first responders in Missouri the ability to communicate from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The system would include local law enforcement, highway patrol, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency personnel. Currently, the Highway Patrol’s radio system is nearly 50 years old.

“This contract, which was already signed, would allow our local police and sheriff’s departments to communicate with law enforcement officials and emergency responders regardless of where they are,” Day said. “In order to find replacement parts for their current system, Highway Patrol must look to salvage yards. To ensure safety, effective equipment is needed. In addition, our local law enforcement officials need the ability to communicate with each other as well as with the Military Police at Fort Leonard Wood. As of now, they have no ways of communicating other than by phone which isn’t always reliable in an emergency.”

On Sept. 11th in New York, the lack of interoperability cost 343 firemen their lives. Twenty minutes before the second building collapsed, a police helicopter sent a warning over their communication system. Many police received the warning and were able to escape. The message could not reach the firefighters and a tragedy occurred that might have otherwise been prevented.

“Our first responders have to depend on each other," Day said. “They need the ability to communicate. I am hopeful Gov. Nixon will reconsider this and allow the contract to move forward. Simply put, it is the right thing to do.”

Contact information:
Rep. David Day
Missouri House of Representatives
148th District
Phone: (573) 751-1446
E-mail: david.day@house.mo.gov
Internet site: www.StateRepDay.com

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