tv Hearing on Emergency Communications Since 911 CSPAN January 26, 2022 6:07pm-8:02pm EST
our subcommittee an emergency. if response and recovery will come to order. the subcommittee is receiving testimony on 20 years after 9/11 and emergency communication. without objection the chairs authorized to declare the subcommittee in recess at any point. last month our nation marked 20 years since the worst terrorist attack on u.s. soil for the committee on homeland security joined many of our colleagues to visit the national september 11 memorial and museum and held a roundtable of first responders. we have also conducted several hearings on the evolution of the department of homeland security and heard from our intelligence community regarding the current and emerging grants to our homeland.
today the emergency preparedness response and recovery subcommittee will examine the progress made in emergency communications since september 11, 2001 and discuss the challenges that may still persist today. as you know from emergency managers and first responders who served on september 11 as the 911 commission report police officers firefighters and emergency medical services experience significant problems communicating within their own agencies and with others who responded on that day. on the morning of september 11 was assigned to the orlando international airport is the commander of the orlando police department port police division. a support to the attack on the world trade center merged and
the federal aviation administration ordered all aircraft grounded law enforcement leadership had to immediately execute emergency operations to protecten passengs employees and the public. i know how the first responders felt in orlando. i can't even begin to imagine all the first responders on the ground experienced and went through a new york. my husband served in law enforcement as well and i have two sons who are firefighters. my heart continues to go out to the families who lost loved ones that tragic night. communications and interoperability -- operability are essential and first responders call it your lifeline. over the next months and years incredible robber as has been made to address thees
indescribable challenges on september 11 and the nation's emergencyy communication apparatus for programs such as first responders networks authority and integrated public alert and warning systems however challenges and operability and intro from dougherty still persist in our aging 911 infrastructure poses additional vulnerabilities. operability and interoperability remain among the greatest concerned that first responders and public safety officials face. tragedies and disasters can come as we all know in many forms. climate change also pose a significant and growing challenges for emergency medication pain from rapid spreading wildfires in the west tore frequent hurricanes radiocommunication systems
remain vulnerable to critical failure. in august hurricane ivan a powerful category 4 storm crashed into new orleans leos anna 911 call center making it difficult if not impossible to respond to emergencies. esmembers of congress we know we have an important role in the improvement of emergency to medication technology. we must continue to providee funding through grants such as the state homeland security program and the urban area security initiative. dethese programs have provided critical federal funding for jurisdictions to buy equipment build and fix communication towers and make broadband improvements. while grant or grams are created specifically for urban areas we
understand the rural communities and tribal lands face their own challenges with broadband and connectivity that can complicate emergency response to a federal grant support these communities but could always be more robust lwto meet the needs more completely. indications interoperability and resilient infrastructure our priorities forum urgency and first responders. the only experience their benefit or challenges during timesle of crisis. today's hearing will serve as an important form to understand the current state of emergency committee patients and any gaps that may still persist. i'm grateful today for the purpose of patient of our witnesses and i look forward to your testimony. the chair now recognizes the
ranking member of the subcommittee the gentlewoman from florida ms. cammack for an opening statement. >> thank you chairman demings. i appreciate your leadership on this issue and as we have said many times before we are extremely lucky that florida has two leaders that are focused on our first responders emergency preparedness and have personal ties to the so thank yours again for convening this important hearing today on our first responder communications. as we all know first responders play an invaluable role in communities across america and ensuring that they have the necessary training equipment funding and resources is a top priority. i look forward to working with the chairwoman to address the challenges facing her first responders an issue that i know she cares very deeply about.
last month as we mark the 20th anniversary of september 11 the 9/11 commission report which recounted that tragic day called attention to the fact that the of communication among emergency personnel 911 communication call centers and cause confusion ultimately costing lives. one fire department chief who was stationed in the north tower's is wrote in a report saying quote people watched on tv certainly had more knowledge of what was happening on the floors above us than we did in the lobby. critical information coming in is difficult to make informed life decisions for my own husband matt came a firefighter in part because of 9/11 watching 2043 men or women ran into the power to save their community members their neighbors and co-workers that i can imagine is
the wife of the first responder what it wouldd you like to witness in real time a of communication on the ground. fast-forward after first responders had similar challenges during hurricane katrina in 2005 congress passed emergency management reform act for this legislation took significant steps to standardize of urgencyer dedications across the country by establishingin te national committee patients plan. as a result accomplished by the nact a survey conducted in 28 -- 2008 found 84% of territorial respondents reported significanr or some improvement in the strengthening of their communications operability. then emergency management reform act helped state and local first responders with axes access to grant funding to develop and implement
statewide interoperability plans to enhance in our purple communications for public safety for officials at all levels of government. in 2012 congress took an additional step to improve our nation's emergency communication network bypassing the job creation act. thisen legislation established e first responder network authority also known as first net which isle responsible for overseeing the buildout and operations of the nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network. this dedicated public safety network has been critical to ensuring that during a disaster necessary information is able to reach first responders on the ground. while both opposed the train and emergency reform act in the tax relief and jobs creation act made significant improvement to our communications many challenges still remain. one such challenge is the real threat of a cyber attack in fact a recent survey found over one third of organizations indicated
cybersecurity incidents have had an impact on the ability of emergency response providers and government officials ability to communicate over the past five years. it's also been found that fire departments and organizations located from rural areas tend to be the least prepare for cybersecurity attacks. 62% of our departments indicate that they do not conduct any cybersecurity plans and over 55% on the survey indicated that of funding means they do not and cannot invest in cybersecurity that first responders and rural areas like one of my counties oftentimes do not have the necessary funding to update their technology and even when they are able to secure the necessary funds at the knowledge he can be coverage. while advances in technology lead to an increase in cyber
attack pic knowledge of information can be revolutionary. next-generation 911 gives us the capability of today's 911 networks allowing capability to provide greater situational awareness to dispatchers and emergency responders. next-generation 911 g when able 911 call centers to accept calls videos vote is in text messages from responders in the public or this capability could be a game-changer for thosee in need and those on the call. as they continue to work to address the challenges facing american -- to medication to improve across board we must work to ensure we are not pursuing a one-size-fits-all approach that may not accommodate the needs of many of our communities especially those in rural communities. i applaud the response to first responders communications allow several years.
we have a long way to go. preparation for today's hearing is both with several of my shares fire chiefs and emergency managers. coming from a rural district some said we are no better today than we were 20 years ago so today i look forward to hearing from our witnesses on what additional steps we in congress can take to ensure that our first responders have the information and connectnd you to be needed to continue serving her community and with that madam chairwoman i yield back. >> i we want to thank the ranking member and members are also reminded the subcommittee will operate according to the guidelines laid out by the chairman and ranking member in their february 3 colloquy regarding the remote features. without objection members not on the subcommittee shall be permitted to question the witnesses. it is now my honor to welcome
our panel of witnesses. our first witness his doctor chris rodriguez. dr. rodriguez is the director of the homeland security emergency management agency for the district of columbia where he serves as the homeland security adviser the state coordinating officer for dr. rodriguez serves as the administrative agent for all homeland security federal grant funding for the district and the national capitol region. prior to his current role dr. rodriguez served as the director of securities office of homeland security andom preparedness from 2014 to 2017. dr. rodriguez works as a senior analyst in the central intelligence agency's counterterrorism center following the attack on september 11. dr. rodriguez thank you so much
for joining us. the chairir now recognizes the gentlewoman from michigan ms. slotkin to introduce our second witness. >> thank you so much madam chairman brouillette -- leading me to a video here. ii just want to do a take knowledge captain meyer -- captain maier whoin is one of of your wins as a vapor that the privilege of representing part of oakland county michigan and mr. maier commands the emergency operations commission and an advocate for modernizing medications and is chairman of the public safety next-generation 911 coalition. dr. maier's response. for overseeing radio and 911 committee patients in the sheriff's office and homeland security and emergency
operations center. he'd began his career in law enforcement more than 28 years ago as a patrol officer before joining the oakland county sheriffs department pays a local leader in a described captain maier is one of michigan and the nation's most knowledgeable experts on the subject of committee patients and has been a stalwart champion of -- is that the deployment of the 911 technology and he's been atol te forefront of developing shared emergency communication in michigan. it is my pleasure as a representative of hearts of oakland county to welcome him to today.mittee >> representatives slotkin thank you so much for that introduction and then maier thank you so much for joining us today. our third witness is the deputy
chief of the fire department and member of the first service that responded to ground zero in manhattan t. chiefs lombard we thank you for your service on that day and your continued service to this day. chiefs lombard has been active in the fire service for nearly 30 years mainly with the seattle fire department. edition to 9/11 he has also responded to incidents including the washington landslide and hurricanes in the pacific the atlantic and gulf of mexico. chief lombard works for the seattle fire department operation division and 911 center and manages communication cord nation for the department specialty team. chief lombard it's an honor to have you with us today and thank you so much for joining us. the chair now recognizes the ranking member to introduce our
fourth witness from the great state of florida. >> thank you madam chairwoman and everyone has been wondering on this call is -- actually his name and i can report that yes. it was with great affection and a pleasure to introduce my friend and also one of our fantastic sheriffs. sheriff de loach had a long career in public service. sheriff de loach played an integral role and held leadership positions. in january of 2015 he was sworn in as share for putnam county and we are so lucky to have him
in that role. thank you for your service to our community as well as your work on several task forces so thank you again for your testimonyan here today sheriff e loach and yes his name actually is. >> thank you to the ranking member and let this florida state seminole welcome you chaired gator. thank you so much to all of our witnesses for joining us today. without objection the witnesses full statement will be inserted intoe the record rate i now ask each of our witnesses to summarize their statement for five minutes beginning with dr. rodriguez. >> thank you and good afternoon everyone. sure on demings ranking member cammack members of the subcommittee and especially
greetings to our new jersey representatives monty coleman and donald payne who worked closely with us when i was a state director in 2014 and 2017. my name is dr. rodriguez and on the director the homeland security and emergency management agency and is in a pointy of muriel bowser i'm honored to be before this committee to talk about the strides the district of columbia has made in communication since the tragic events of 9/11. when it comes to emergency communications there's no place in the country and perhaps in the world like the capitol region. with frequent special events and the ever-present threat of terrorism and the hazardous landscape in the district is unique. we are home to u over 40 federal and local responding agencies and we have a robust system.
all of us need to communicate seamlessly and reliably across the spectrum of contingencies. when people often think or talk about murdaugh to committee patients they think in terms of radials but the solutions these communication challenges we face are multifaceted and expand beyond land mobile radios. with my time today at like to discuss if uk solutions successes and challenges that are unique to the district. as global date and cellular committee patient has become increasingly important element of effective emergency response the district 1 utilized first net orir first responders in 20. by providing dedicated elconnectivity to the public safety community first net enables us to continue sharing voice data and video. additionally our partnership with first net has enabled us to
request deployable cellular infrastructure to support the demand. leading up to the 2021 presidents earl inauguration and on january 6 we had coordinated with to have such infrastructure in place to cover the u.s. capital complex. ultimately this collaboration and their dedicated bandwidth allowed first responders to communicate on january 6. we are now in the process of working with respect to acquire two of our deployable units which will contribute to increased resiliency and -- while the ability to communicate between government is vital the ability to reach the public is equally important. there are many ways to push for an occasion to public at we have
seen an extremely high volume of -- these individuals may not be in the district to learn about our merchants in navigation systems are all on social media. this emergency that is proven to be an incredibly valuable in our toolbox and both the regional and national leader in the spaces was tested before the 2017 presidential inauguration. .. shared best practices and burning procedures with state and local travel territorial partners. the powerful 12, we still see challenges outside of our intended targeted area. as an alerting it is a very high profile or
learning method in its overuse or inappropriate use can cause individuals to opt out and would limit us to reach them a dire emergency. we didn't use it during announcing curfews during the black lives matter protested january 6 insurrection as well as with other extreme weather events. improving the reliability of communications here in the district is a top priority for us and i know for the mayor. i appreciate the opportunity to ask share this with the subcommittee. can't thank you very much for a quick thank you for your testimony. i know it recognize captain meyer to summarize his statementve for five minutes. >> a good after noon chairwoman and thank you for congresswoman for the introduction and members of the subcommittee. captain in oakland county, michigan the sheriff's the sheriff of oakland county as a
member of the major counties of america and i offer my comments today on behalf of all of their members, represented with the association. i will spend a minute each on four issues, radio communications, 91111 systems, i look forward to your questions after words. overall, 20 years after the 911 attacks made a lot of progress in communications. there is still more to be done. we need to meet the expectations of the american people in the 21st century. the ability to communicate radio network is essential. no matter the type of incident we are responding to, whether it is a crash, an active shooter, or terrorist attack.
since 911 a more radio features and technology have improved between public safety agencies. funding state homeland security grant program helped us improve infrastructure. however communication technology growth still existed. the lack of coordination among the agency communication systems. due to the varying levels of radio technology, system maturity, and continued upon legacy proprietary systems. additional federal funding would help us accelerate the movement to citizens and to operability.
would help agencies implement technologies that can infringe the education networks regarding 911 we are on the verge of sink next-generation 911 become much more widely deployed across the united states. next-generation 911 was developed to address long-standing issues with legacy 911 9 systems. however incoming capabilities throughout the united states. that is not fair to the responders citizens. the public safety's next-generation includes many
of the leading organizations in the country representing fire ems, law enforcement, communications professionals. we are advocating for one time commitment of $15 billion in federal grant funding tora support a nation with 911. mc sa strongly believes that once in a generation investment will allow the successful deployment of the 911 nationwide. it improves emergency response, it saves lives. with regards to first not the 911 recommended the broadband network through dedicated to responders. through this leadership of the public safety in congress liable dedicated high-speed
network solely for first responders. since first creation, coverage and capacity have consistently a improved. there is a a dedicated network is completely focused on public safety. there are now over 2.5 million in other organizations. 5g connectivity. of the same time the success ultimately continues to invest the development of reliable coverage throughout the united states.te the networks have been surpassed by any standard and there is still progress to be made. congress shoulde, continue to ensure throughout the full promise of first not.
finally simplified the system, improving the ability to quickly reach more in the public. in my home state of michigan, during the covid pandemic public health orders and other recommendationsat important emergency information. the same time there are opportunities to upgrade the system. current systems do not work on older devices and may fail to reach the targeted public. geo- fencing is not an accuracy as you've heard the previous speaker say. she continued to better integrate and leverage systems including integration of next gen 911. i want to thank you chairman and every single one of our
citizens with the best and most reliable and communication systems. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you so much captain for your testimony. there was a little bit of a connectivity issue there. i know our team was going to troubleshoot with your team so thank you for being with us today. to summarize his statement for five minutes ago. >> the chouteau saddle fire department acting from the communications made for the international. >> i'm sorry ma'am were able to hear the last? high pressure the opportunity to discuss the progress made in emergency communication since 911. assisted in ground zero in new
york prim keenly aware of thisni communication issues that face responders of that date in 2001 and the progress made sense,. they are two tribes that emerge from the 911 commission report federal gramps have greatly improved responsibilities through training as others have mentioned the first responder network as a nation white cellular network that enables first responders to communicate with them in a cross of jurisdiction, provides redundancy for network resilience and reduces the impact of network congestion through first net, first responders have priority on dedicated public safety sector. on behalf of the international association also mentioned mems and dhs advisory group works with stakeholders to develop better progress is transverse responders and emergency communication,
coordinates grant guidance and encourages i have seen it's a great works of first-hand on behalf of the isc i asked congress on the end it's agency in support. post 911 the urban area initiative graham's been crucial to improving emergency communication for these grants incentivized h across jurisdictions to collaborate before, during, after an incident. the coordination reduces confusion and directly saves lives but our members of uses grant funding to improve regional and resilient communication. urges congress to continue to support strong funding. fema's assistance to firefighter grants are also used for equipment, training, staffing. afc grants are key to public safety communications, especially since 50% of fire
departments built lack staffing firms and all managers of the fire department. as congress to fully fund grant which is critical to the fire service. so great progress has been made in emergency communication, there's still room for improvement. many members are often mentioning one-on-one calls and jurisdictions are being improperly routed and resulting in significant delays from should be able to do better in emergency this highlights the need for 911 infrastructure to catch up with other commercial technology. the isc is a member of the public safety next-generation 911 coalition withal the coalition requests an act but $15 billion next gen package the reconciliation package. the availability also critically important 4.9 gigahertz band was set aside a
911 for public safety used 4.9 gigahertz including mick public safety thinkers in iran the spectrum as new technology becomes more widely used. last october the scc issued an order to set up white licenses were 4.9 gigahertz available to commercial entities. on september 30 of this year supports the fcc's decision to rescind a framework for public safety also uses six figures for communication systems in rural areas across the united states. to protect critical communication and the six gigahertz band for an conclusion public safety
emergency response or perhaps the pinnacle with no higher expectation no higher importance for getting it right. immediatelyy after 9/11 we recognize our challenges our peoplere based. we recognize also because of the people in relationships we have formed. we would not be here today without the spirit of working together on the foundation for the likes of retired police chief from ithaca, new york and retired fire chief past president instrumental in launching efforts first net and others pray continues today with relationships of public safety forms like between the captain and myselfcr across the country. facilitating and informing the maintenance of these relationships may be the biggest single success the federal government has done. and for that we thank you. we think the subcommittee for allll it is done to improve public safety communications in the 20 years since 911.
also got to think my family and support team. he looks forward to continuing the work of the subcommittee to address the continued communication needs of public safety. thank you veryha much. >> thank you so much. for your testimony. the chair nowec recognizes the sheriff from putnam county. for five minutes thank you for being with us today. >> thank you, members of the subcommittee, charwoman and ranking member, thank you for the opportunity to testify before this committeeod today. as a sheriff in a rural border county my office faces new challenges to communicate with emergency service providers. it's my pleasure to be with you today and share it with some of the obstacles we face but working together to ensure our nation's best equipped to respond to emerging threats
and life safety issues. i want to begini by talking about emergency communications to offer a rural perspective to the members of the subcommittee. all of the nation has seen significant changes to the way performs there are significant and lapses in coverage c areas. just for a little background, situate approximate 60 miles south of jacksonville. our community with a population or 75003 putnam county is comprised primarily of farmland. the county is physically restrained undesignated of concern by the board of legislature. not the least of which is our emergency communication systems. while emergency services in rural areas look significantly
different than it does for urban counterparts, many things do look the same but we apply the same statutes, are held to the same standards by certifying bodies. does construct historically however. the majority of our federal, state, local systems, putnamou county is an outlier and currently use an antiquated radio system which is based on technology developed during the second world war. primarily more parts and decommission systems are donated from other areas and otherwise destined for our landfill. this effectively isolates us with no ability to communicate with their counterparts that we frequently work with or overwhelm systems. imagine a law enforcement officer in paramedic in a rural area. twenty-five to 30 minutes with your current location but when you arrive you think the victim is conscious but not
ambulatory has a large laceration above the eye. based on the description of her injuries you suspect she may have internal injuries as well by the suspect ran into a densely forested area before the residentsts pretrade reach the emergency communication center for an expedited response from ems and or backup but get no response. you attempt is her cell phone to call but have no luck. frustrated you have no choice but to leave the victim at a vulnerable position we return to patrol call to use your more powerful mobile radio. the dispatchers can hear you but your transmission is still static and unintelligible at top sort of fortunately is a foresight to spend another deputy to assist. unfortunately 20 minutes will lapse before rescue arrives. conditioner to ask quickly because the time delay, she suffered loses her ability to speak and testify against her attacker. in 2013 the sec issued a mandate that required dhs
systems or otherwise decrease their wavelength from 25 kilohertz to 12.5 kilohertz to free up additional frequencies. the effect on us here was a greatly reduced ability to transmit or receive radio traffic especially in buildings or isolated areas. it's robust immediately attack seem to have waned significantly. but rural communities thean findings were assisting in communications receiving vital technology in a timely manner. they funded their communication updates to their ability toro leverage money from an extensive and diverse socioeconomic population. world communities lacked that advantage. the majority of residents are older, are on fixed incomes did not have diversity of economic growth as seen in areas such as st. john's or orange county. at the same time committee such as a putnam are not so
economically stagnantan they receive an overabundance of grant funding we and other community similar to ours are inci a financial strangled we have to choose emergency responders to meet the need of the community would have the potential to lose signal withhe communication or pray to update the communications. but not have the people to respond to the emergency call. visual aid model literacy on technology developed the beta post 911 years are significant emphasissi on risk contribute to a lack of maintenance and user
agencies to remain proficient in the operation of it. furthermore it has limitations from outside of the agency coverage area. the most logical independent dispatch centers would enable the users to run freely within their coverage area which reduces cost based on shared infrastructure while still maintaining the autonomy of dispatch centers but regional center models are not new there several well-established communications nationwide and in florida by the systems great additional efficiencies, the most notable of which creates ag work around allowing certain transmitters to be optimized for additionaldi coverage, which is not currently allow because the scc has a man theaters to transmit more than 5 miles out of their incentive coverage
area. this also to reduce the need to build costly tower sites by optimizing antenna placement, versus the need to build additional sites when transmitters can be sent accordingly. although i'm not aware of any current agreements, we do also have the ability to use existing infrastructure through partnering with internet service providers which allows for leasing of a power for efforts to review it. >> sheriff, excuse me. your time has expired a couple of minutes ago. but the line of questioning from members if there something that is still in your opening statement that you want to share with us, please use that opportunity to do that. t we want to thank you so much for joining uss today. want to thank all our witnesses for your testimony. i want to remind the testimony we will each five minutes to question the panel. i will now recognize myself for questions.
i want to start with chief lombardch. you said having been on the ground during 911, you said something you are keenly aware of the conditions on the ground that day. we not one of the major challenges is interoperability. can t you talk a little bit more about what it was like on that ground today. and since 911 paint a picture force of the improvements that we have made but we still need to make. thank you. >> sure chair, thank you very much for the question. so, i responded to the fema contracts around t the nation to form 28 search and rescue teams a seattle fire department is one of those teams. so we responded, were actually mosey second round. it was definitely a light life alteringel experience, like nothing i've ever seen seen
since or had never seen before. i was coming off duty and saw that news on the tv and again it was life altering. well had desperate communications. further our communications that integrate with police, fire, emt, dispatch on scene as well. you had to make extensive use of runners, and communications to try to do the best that we could at the time. thankfully, like i had mentioned in my testimony there are some relationships already established. at least we had some kind of idea on who we should reach out to and who we should talk too. talking with colleagues and counterpart to the washington d.c. aspect of 911 was kind of the same thing for the try to patch everything but all of a sudden everybody was talking
to everybody and nobody could talk. make all of the education was eventually dhs appeared the training and exercising through through those and according to the funds accordingly public safety all across united states does a much better job what are weakening, what are you guys getting, how should we talk? language is the example we always use between police and fire. i'm sure you know how these debates go between police and fire. lots of good kidding and ribbing. at the military says government, of a firefighter says cover me or if a police
officer says cover me you get very different responses as to what that won't mean. whether it's water, equipment or a gun being pulled out per we worked on all those different aspects. again, safe comic technology is coming we did not get into that position, it took a long time to get into and is going to continue to take time to get out of it. >> thank you so much for that. captain mario talked a little bit your opening statement about and that youthfulness of that platform. what would you say are some additional things that can be done to improve the performance of the platform? >> or the most important things it has done for us, can you hear me okay? i should check first. with first and that we have to
talk about the resiliency of the network mixed with the build out is 95% complete at this time, moving a band 14 across the united states. putting the national safety broadbent and the power of first responders. the legacy equipment the towers are built to standards we would use for our public safety radio systems for the power systems that back them up, the diversity of the past that connected those network of networks together is built to that same standard. we see that with first and then we do have a transparency platform with at&t with help of the network. i can see how things are going. i can see if there are outages or impairments. and here is the thing for us. as first responders we actually have to anticipate disruptions to our operations. we do that all the time that
includes outages not just related to first not preplan for those responses as well as for recovery. we note first that is working with them on this. i was pretty first net public advisory committee for many years, served as vice chair. proud to say the first authority of the hard-working people there. also think about the deployable's they have put out. they have more than 100 deployable's ready to go that can be pre-stage like they did in d.c. talking to new orleans right now i can see the devastation. when i look out the window of what the storms can do and how they can tear up the infrastructure. that is what being prepared is doing for us. by partnering with first net and moving this forward we are building and more resiliency.
we are identifying the weak parts we are assuring the pathways very, very proud of the work going on with it. it is a very, very useful tool for public safety brickwork's captain thank you so much for your response. the chair now it recognizes the ranking member of the subcommittee. the gentlewoman from florida for your questions. >> thank you chairwoman. this question is going to be for sheriff, chief lombard and captain meyer. if you guys could quickly, because i only have five minutes, wait and guess or know in an elaborate just a littlete bit. has cybersecurity advisors deployed across the ten fema regions you have all worked with fema in one capacity or another to assist state and local governments and the private sector to help mitigate cyber threats. so my question to you three is have you had any engagement with the representative
regarding cybersecurity services? and if so has that engagement been up beneficial and how could it be improved? >> well, my office is not had any personal engagement. we do have even for a very rural county a robust response to cyber threats that we address. and also one of the vendors of record we use here. >> thank you. captain meyer, click thank you congresswoman. yes is the short answer.we to expand upon that i was part of the safe comic committee for many years appeared as chair of funding and sustainment. we took into account building these networks in the bottom
up to include cybersecurity so they are built upon the network of network security. and in fact, one of the things we have used as the model of intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems and building those in. the content is excessive. on a slave take more than five minutes to listen at all. but i can tell you they do have the ability to do technical assistance program they can actually go out and help identify gaps and what your technology services especially communications is doing as well some of the formal county staff. >> excellent, thank you, chief? >> yes ranking member, yes. we actually had the privilege to meet the newly appointed director and had several meetings with deputy director. then some great outcomes of that. being from the home of amazon andd microsoft, one of the
things we started to get there i safe, and working with his start to really foster some of pthe public/private partnerships. : : : alent together to start addressing public safety needs. >> excellent. sheriff, as you know, when we talked about this before about 60 million americans were one in enter or 1 in 5 americans live in rural america. in fact, 97% of america is rural. so knowing that, and you representing a rural community if, can you talk about what it would cost your department to upgrade your radio system? >> yes, or absolutely. so so we have, we're actually mt. processy. of attempting to upgrade our radio system and identify a funding source right now. the long and short of it is, is that it would cost us about $7-8 million to upgrade our radio system and the existing infrastructure. so we're in a position where we
can either buy the car or put gas in it, so to speak. [laughter] >> and i know we're going to dig into a lot of the nitty-gritty systems themselves and some of the grant funding programs, but something that constantly, i believe, gets overlooked is the personal human side of what can happen when these radio systems are going down or they don't work. have you ever or anyone in your department had the situation where an officer was put in danger or there was a loss of life due to a lack of communication? >> fortunately, we have not had a loss of life. however, there are more than we can cover in the short period of time that a we have of situations where both fire and ems crewsws and deputies were placed in grave harm or peril because of their lack of ability to communicate back with our regional communications center. >> excellent. i've got about 20 seconds left.
so i'm going to open it up to all of the witnesses. i think it'll probably be hit on later today, but i was just yes or no in my 10 seconds, do you have experience within your department potentially tragic situations or a tragic situation due to a lack of communication? chief lombard? >> yes. there's many example where either radioio failures of systm failures have led to fatalities. lots of reports confirming that. >> captain meyer? >> yes. we had an incident at a shooting scene where departments could notre talk to each other, creatd a much more dangerous event. it's a terrible situation that could have been averted with better communications. >> i appreciate it, thank you. and with that, i yield back, madam chairwoman. >> thank you so much to the ranking member. the chair will now recognize other members for questions they may wish to ask the witnesses.
in accordance with the guidelines laid out by the chairman and ranking member in their february 3rd colloquy, i are recognize members -- i will recognize members in order of seniority, alternating between majority and minority. members are also remindedded to unmute themselves when recognizedded for questioning. the chair recognizes for 5 minutes the gentlewoman from texas, ms. sheila jackson-lee. sheila, i know you were on earlier. is ms. if jackson-lee still with us? okay. the chair will now recognize the gentleman from new jersey, mr. payne, for 5 minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. and it's -- thank you for having this hearing.
very timely hearing. very pleased to hear the discussion earlier in the beginning of the hearing with mention of h.r. 615, the dhs interoperable communications act, which was -- i authored that legislation. so i'm very proud of that. and also shepherded in the firstnet operation here at dhs. so it'srs really good to hear al of that being functioning and active here at homeland. and, dr. rodriguez, good to see you again. we miss you in jersey, but it's wonderful that you landed in washington. enter thank you, sir. >> and so, let's see. so access to emergency alerts
and calls are necessary for every american no matter what the economic background or ability. what systems are or initiatives does your agency have have in place to insure that all residents receive emergency alerts and information? >> congressman payne, thank you for the question. you're right, here in the district we do have q a diverse socioeconomic resident population, and we did see that, certainly, in our response to the pandemic but also with some of the disasters and emergencies that we've experienced. so in addition to some of the tools that i mentioned in my opening statements, we do employ a multifacetedded and multimodal approach. i mentioned our d.c. campaign
which will go and ping to our residents' cell phones either via text or e-mail if. we also, through the mayor's office and many of our community-based organizations, do a lot of door-to-door canvassing as well directly reaching our residents particularly many our -- in our more disadvantaged wards, wards 7 and 8 in particular. ask we also try to reach our residents by getting them to also sign up for sop of our telephone note -- someor of our telephone o notifications. so for residents who don't have cell phones, for example, we can through our public messaging campaigns -- again, working with the mayor's office -- we're able to reach them in that way so that we can make calls to them during an emergency. >> thank you. and in 2018 a false ballistic missile alert was accidentally issued m in hawaii in the wirels
emergency alert system. this false alarm caused widespread concern. how can we insure that such accidents never happen again, and are there current challenges or concerns that you have with the emergency alert system and the wireless emergency alert system? >> thank you. certainly remember that false alarm and alert that was sent out. it did reverberate, i think, across -- >>t [inaudible] >> sorry -- >> [inaudible] >> a lot of the witnesses on the line, it was significant. so what we did here, and my if agency actually disseminates the i -- alerts on behalf of the district. so we actually looked at our processes for insuring that that typepe of message wouldn't, wouldn't go out. so we do have a layered approach to not only drafting a message,
but also looking at our geo-fencing and where we're actually doing it. i can mention the challenges of geo-fencing. it's not an accurate technology, so we do get bleedover into maryland and virginia, our surrounding counties, which can also be a challenge. but we do have allyiered process for insuring once the -- has been hit, that that has been looked at by several individuals before we actually put out, and vetted, before we put it out to the public. >> well, thank you for those responses. and, madam chair, i'll yield back the balance of t my time. >> gentleman yields back. thank you so much. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from louisiana, mr. higgins, for 5 minutes. >> i thank my friend and colleague, the chairwoman, and the ranking member for holding this hearing today, and i thank our law enforcement and first responders for being here today. madam chair, i'm concerned about aay continued endeavors to defud
thedu police. as it relates to today's topic, communications, and the effectiveness thereof, here's an example. in usa aen, texas, police department -- austin, texas, the police department was defunded to the tune of $150 million, about a third of its budget. it's facing quite a crisis. in fact, the department is now reporting that they're not going to pond to many calls -- respond to many calls. they've advised the accesses of -- citizens of austin to dial 311 for any complaints including burglaries, suspicious vehicles and people, public disturbances. and let me clarify that from austin's web site when you dial 311, your call is answered by a friendly and knowledgeable city of austin ambassador. our ambassadors are always ready to answer any questions or assist you with any issue you may have if regarding the city of austin's departments or services. 24s hours a day, 7 days a week,
365 days a year. you dial 311, you can get an ambassador. now, let me just say when an american citizen is in a bind, they feel like they need to call 911, they need to be sure we, the people, need to be certain that there's a police officer on the other end of that phone. and the austin example is quite startling because it's happening across the country in different ways. and after reviewing each of our first responders and law enforcement witness testimonies, today there was a common theme. every witness here t talks about the need for additional resources. so the answer to improving emergency response efforts including communications and interoperability across departmentalal jurisdictional authority has never been to withdraw resources from our first responders. and as a former cop, i can
assure country that defunding the police is the greatest threat to our nation's ability emergencies. sheriff deroach, i'm going to ask you a question, and i'm going to call you sheriff gator, because that's the coolest name that has come through this committee in quite some time. i mean, according to an fcc report, more than a thousand cell sites were knocked out post-katrina preventing millions of calls from going through. the report goes on to say a large number of -- had a huge impact on the ability of the public safety system to communicate. your county is susceptible to hurricanes. i have have firsthand experience in the challenges that first responders face, that cops face when dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane and communications. could you please explain to the me how hurricanes challenge your communications' interoperability gap and how a county sheriff
likein yourself would respond to those challenges and as that might relatege to moves to defud the police? if i'll yield the balance of my time to you, sheriff gator, to answer that question for the country. >> thank you, representative higgins. that's an excellent question. yes, hurricanes are one of the biggest threats that face our communications infrastructure system. in fact, that ties directly back into my testimony, so i'll dovetail off of some of that whenever we talk about a regional communications system and regional approaches. we are actually in the process of negotiating with st. john's county which is our sister county to the east to potentially develop a regional communications center which would allow coastal counties likeke st. john's to tie into or system -- or, rather, us to tie into their system to build additionalui redundancies and fl safes in the event we have some
type of a catastrophic failure which would allow both entitiesd to continue to operate independent of one another while still depending on the same core or the same common system, if that makes sense. >> yes, sheriff, that makes sense to me. and, madam chair, i cannot see the clock. i don't know if i have time remaining. >> you have 25 seconds left. >> thank you, madam chair, for the clarification. sheriff, could you continue and comment, just talk to america about the challenge that -- there's some legitimate argument, you understand, and it's okay for americans to have this debate. but would you just honestly respond from your perspective to the attempt to defund police across the country. >> the t gentleman's time has expired, but the witness may answer the question. >> thank you, madam chair. so fortunately, living in rural
northeastng florida, we don't en have those discussions here. law enforcement is almost unilaterally respected by our citizens, and we're very gracingful -- grateful for that. my heart certainly goes out to my brothers and sisters in blue who are experiencing some of those, those devastating blows to their departments, and certainly even more so to the residents who arere suffering at the hands of the attempt to defund police right now. it's un-american, in my opinion, and shouldn't be tolerated. >> the chair now recognizes the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson-lee, for 5 minutes. >> i'm trying to unmute, and i seem -- >> we hear you now. >> [audio difficulty] >> thank you so very much.
[inaudible] >> ms. jackson-lee, you're on on two different screens. perhaps if we could eliminate one of them, les some feedback. i'm going to give you a couple of seconds to do that. >> we've eliminated, i think. we were desperately trying to get on everywhere, but here. >> that's better. that's better. i see some jeopardy here, so i better talk fast. firstfi of all, madam chair, thk you so very much -- [audio difficulty] >> ms. jackson-lee, we continue -- >> -- and i want to -- >> ms. jackson-lee, we're still having some communications issues. we are going toe come back to you. we're going to come back to you. the chair will now recognize the
gentlewoman from new jersey, ms5 minutes. >> thank you. thank you, madam chairwoman, and thank you to the witnesses. i haven't had a chance to be here for the entire thing because i was double booked, as life is. but i am a very much concerned about this issue. you all represent very different communities, but one thing you all have in common if is the vulnerability of being hacked by cyber criminals. standard communications systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks where encreated information -- uncreated information can be copied, and a hacker can hack electronic quites for transmission. -- devices for transmission. so letet me ask you, mr. meyer, what are some of youring cybersecurity concerns, and do you feel as though dhs is as supportive as it needs to be with this mission?
>> thank you, congresswoman. that's the best question i've had really related to cyber, what keeps me up at night. and cyber intrusion is a serious threat, and it is a scary consideration that we put this digital data, personal information, all of this information that is so essential to criminal justice out on the internetet and all these other places, and people are hacking in. it is a danger. so one of the things we've done is we've said, look, these immediate to be closed systems -- need to be closed systems with controls at entry, controls that have to do with credentialing and management, controls that have to do with understanding the physical layers ofde the network versus e logical layers of the network, and those are the things that are built into the best systems out there. and we look at some of the work through dhs and through nist and all of those agencies, and we're talking about risk identification whether it's assets, data and those
capabilities. putting that all together for us, we protect it, we detect it, we then respond and we recover. that's how we do things, and those are the best systems. but remember, the most important thing is our employees and the people that work foros us. we have to do that training, and we have to make sure that they have the information available to say this is a scam, don't respond to that e-mail. we've all seen 'em or the telephone calls, and dhs has been on the front of that. and especially having the folks from cisa that are able to work with us in southeast michigan, it's been very porn for us, and it's effective -- important for us, and it's effect if i have. >> thank you. thank you, captain. we want to make sure you have whatever resources and whatever support that you need from dhs, and -- >> thank you, ma'am. we appreciate your help and the work of those professionals. >> well, you know, please know that a we are strong supporters of the resources that you need,
law enforcement across this country, and we don't engage in the hyperbole or politicization of the protection of our citizens, to wit, law enforcement. i have a question for dr. rodriguez and, dr. rodriguez, always good to see you. you know the attack that took place on january 6th was this sort of unexpected end, i think it was -- i don't know. maybe, it certainly was unacceptable and was unexpected with people like me. i personally said let's go to the capitol because we'll be safe there, and lo and behold, that was, like, the worst place we could have been on that a day. so, dr. rodriguez, i want to ask you, could you please describe the current communications operation in our nation's capitol and detail which systems worked on january 6th and what systems caused challenges and where were in fixing those. thank you. >> thank you, congresswoman, and
i appreciate the question. it's good to see you as well. as i mentioned in my opening statements, the firstnet system did work reliably and consistently on january 6th, which i think did assist our first responders, metropolitan police department, capitol police, in doing what they needed to do to clear the capitol of the insurrectionists. i would also add that there are some, as i mentioned also, our d.c. radio systems did work well as well on the 6th. we do continue to look for ways that we can better partner with our federal counterparts, our police, the capitol police, in order to make sure that there is that interoperable communications with our federal partners because often times, you know, with our first amendment events and special events we host here in the nation's capital, we do need to
make sure that we are able to communicate very quickly with our federal counterparts if we're called on to support them in many instances. >> thank you, dr. rodriguez. madam chair, how much time do i have? >> the gentlewoman's time has expired. >> can i just close with a question -- can i just close maybe with a comment? because dr. rodriguez raised for me something that was really quite significant in that washington was ready and able to respond in a timely manner at the point w that it knew if it needed to respond. so the questions that still need to be answered is why weren't we proactively prepared. thank you, madam chair, and i yield back. >> thank you so much. the gentlewoman yields back. the chair a now recognizes the gentlewoman from iowa, ms. if miller-meeks, for 5 minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, ranking member cam act and to all of our witnesses, our firstof responders, our
firefighters, our sheriffs, all of you who are here with us today. it's greatly appreciated, the work that a you do. now, you know, sheriff gator deloach, you mentioned response to hurricanes and how that affects you. others of you have mentioned other disasters, how they affect your different regions. in iowa we don't get hurricanes unless they're called dray chos which are -- deray chos which are inland hurricanes. and so some of the comments have talked about resiliency, and i've heard a lot about the firstnet system and using cell you cellular communication, but i can tell you in central iowa, some of our larger cities, communication was unavailable. as a state senator, identify, you know -- i've, you know, put through legislation for broadband. our governor, governor reynolds has just put through $100 million to broadband. so my question really -- and,
dr. rodriguez, maybe you can answer this or sheriff deloach can answer, you know, should we have -- in order to have resiliency, shouldd we not have also redundancy of communications systems? because theun same natural or unnatural disaster is not going to affect bothau areas. and this also leads into the cybersecurity arena as bell -- as well. you know, what's the possibility of satellites being taken out in outer space, what does that do to our communication system? we have seen u.s. companies purchased by the chinese communist party, and if a chinese communist party purchases a u.s. system or, for example, huawei and 5g as it's being developed and the challenges with huawei and security, i think all of these things are important as we develop a communication communications system and strategy, and hopefully we'll see that in this upcoming report. sote if you could answer that question briefly, it'd be
greatly appreciated. if enter thank you. sheriff, i'll defer to you, and then i'll come in after you, if that's all right.. >> certainly, thank you. that's an excellent question. i think one of the key components to focus on here is with the firstnet buildout -- which, coincidentally, is almost complete many putnam if county, and we're nearing the final stages of completion here, one of the things that firstnet brings that a makes it so attractive is an a additional layer of redundancy above and beyond our land global radio system which allows it to serve as an adjunct to that, to our traditional radio system and even allows us to transmit data that we would normally transmit over our digital land over radio systems over cellular or lte network. with that in mind and with the particular types of storms that you're talking about, you know,
it's difficult to, you know, to build out some type of infrastructure that could survive some type of, you know, a catastrophic, really powerful major hurricane or some type of a 500-year storm. but that was something that firstnet actually took into conversation whenever -- consideration whenever they were in the design and engineering phase. so, certainly, the credit goes to them and everyone who had a that.n >> thank you. and before you answer, dr. rodriguez, you know, we recently are have seen with the outage w of facebook, we know tt these types of redundancies are necessary because one communication avenue may be susceptible. so, dr. rodriguez, if you'd expand upon that and thank you again for your testimony. >> absolutely. thank you, congressman. thanky. you, sheriff. we find in the district our interoperability coordinator really develops our plan, and
it's really based on the framework, right? the primary which is our radio system, the alternate which is our cell system, our contingencies would be satellite and then our emergency in a worst case scenario would be amateur radio runners. and so we follow that framework for our communications ecosystem here and certainly with the national capital region, and we plan and we train to that. the other thing i would say is, you know, at the national level you're talking about sate actor, congresswoman. i think as the national government, the federal government examines national resiliency particularly as part of continuity of the economy framework, as was mandated in last year's nda section 9603, i think it's really important for state and local authorities to be charged with that planning process and that training process so that they know sort of the last mile and how it does impact the resident states and local jurisdictions. >> that's an excellent point.
so thank you so much for your testimony and, madam chair, thank you for indulging them to answer the questions despite my time having t expired, and i yid back. >> the gentlewoman yields back. the chair now rerecognizes the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson-lee, for 5 minutes. >> madam chair, can you all hear me now? > yes, we can. >> okay. well, i could have a sense of humor about operating on two and three and four devices trying to get into this hearing, but i was hearing it, and it is an important hearing. and so i want to, again, thank you very much for your leadership and the ranking member, and i appreciate the fact that we have a combination, very important combination of police departments and fire departments in our chair and ranking member.
i support both many terms of the vital -- in terms of the vital work that they do coming from texas and coming from houston and being in the eye of disaster. we have had to rely upon the teams working together. let me give a brief anecdote as i raise my questions to the witnesses that are there. i was in the united states capitol on 9/11. i was told by then-capitol police the first voices we heard to get out and run as we saw them doing their job. and it was well known that the first level of information was not any information. because weor did not have the connectedness that we needed, and rumors were that they were headed toward the white house, the capitol, the state department and, as well, that they were headed to houston, texas, because it was the energy capital of the world. so i firsthand understand clearly, and contrary to my if dear friend from louisiana,
higgins, that cities and communities, we support police with funding. we understand and you should understand that there are issues that would involve the george floyd justice in policing act. but we are supportive of the basic infrastructure of law enforcement in this nation, and that is all a americans who cede themselves to the authority of law enforcement and first responders, fire departments, as they do their jobs. so let me ask this general question that may have been asked, but i could ask in a different way. it is all about infrastructure. it is all about the connectedness that you need to communicate. .. her remic running up the stairs. i understand they're still the 1960s and 1970s infrastructure. givetu us, your point of what we
need to do immediately. there is a funding question, there's a technology question. i know you have been answering but givee it to me and i pointed away so that we could end this in 2021 and dealingen with this long period of time. i would be delighted to have the witnesses answer these questions if they will. and do i need to call on the deputy chief of the fire department in seattle and others who can answer, thank you. >> thank you congresswoman. quick cheese chief lumbar there you are. >> one of the things you mention is technology but i cannot emphasize enough making sure the people we know to talk too. when he went down to hurricane harvey, one of the phone calls i was able to make your state
wide coordinator and kent wright who works with the houston fire department, by contacting them i was able to find out who i needed to talk to, to find out and facilitate the communications infrastructure. what is working, what is not, what can we bring, but how we help you? dhs support in the net safety advisory committee are two great examples were you, as congress are bringing us together so we can make those connections, make those relationships so that when disaster does it come we know who to contact on the ground. >> or chief buyer, sheriff meyer, what is your assessment of the greater work we can know for law enforcement and the connectivity that you need? speak about connectivity betweenes different first responders. such as connectivity with fire departments in addition to police departments or law enforcement. chief myers?
>> go ahead. i am sorry can you hear me okay? >> yes i can hear now. >> alright thank you ma'am. congresswoman, thank you for giving me a chance to talk about this. one of the most important things talked about is the communication planning process. that dhs has been a leader on this and continued funding and support where he served in the funding sustainment work we develop radiant systems we are truly because she understood with ems and all the public safety people who support us. those relationships in the process of the single most important thing for technology can be as a sheriff talked about in florida we can have
alternate locations to have art communication center so they are affected they do not take out the entire communication system, just part that iss affected. continued support and funding and the others we are doing law help on the path forward for. >> the gentlewoman's time hasth expired. thank you so much. >> thank you very much for this hearing.nt >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. green for five minutes. >> thank you very much madam chair at think the ranking member as well. if such outstanding witnesses on occasions. this is one of those times is when the signs we can all agree the success of what we're attempting to accomplish is of greatat benefits. not only in interoperability
is very important. i was there when katrina hit this is very important. as it relates to the general public. there are times when the memes of communication by way of cell phone are oversaturated. and that oversaturation leaves the public without an opportunity to ascertain what the salient issues are. i am interested how we are interconnecting with interoperability as it relates to the general public. i will start with mr. christopher rodrigues. your thoughts on the public on how we phase the public into all of this. many times i am being called upon and i cannot get through to the people who need to know. >> yes, thank you very much congressman greene for the
question. i think it is important to look at the public as part of a larger emergency communication echo system of which they are a part of it. on sale from our perspective i mentioned earlier in the comments about the ways we try to reach the public as a city. actually as a region. we do have a regional watch and a worn notification team that sits in the district that will alert the residence was nearly 6 million they know how to reach us. if there are issues that need to bring in traffic accidents happen.
how to sign up for alerts, how to get direct feeds but how to communicate with us as well. >> let me share additional concern a lot of calls to my office out in the street bouncing around in each get this actual reason for this when it was came to my attention. that is important. can you comment on this sheriff? >> just to dovetail what doctor roger rodriguez was talking about, are frequently
faced with hurricanes and significant. typically there some infrastructure failures there was key to this conversation is the early warning and notification. if they in a low lying areas. but use a multifaceted approach for communication. in early warning system and also eight messaging system and reverse an 911 system to push out those messages. think there still needs to be some significant work that is
done as fary as building redundancy and resiliency into their systems so that they function even when conditions are less than optimal. >> i have about 25 seconds according to my timer. do not have the actual timer. let me share this thought with you my uncle was a deputy sheriff. i want to let you know how much i appreciate the persons who are in law enforcement, private partners, the constables the various members who are out there putting their lives on the line to make sure we are safe. sometimes you go above and beyond the call of duty even when it's not required for you to go above and beyond the call of duty. thank you so much and thank you madam chair again for your sage advice you have given us as we have gone through this process as well. thank you. >> thank you so much the gentleman yields back.
we do have time for a second round of questioning if the members so desire. i want to thank our witnesses for the outstanding job and information that you have given us today. you know, i will begin with myself. one ofng the things i said in my opening statement was members of congress have an important role to ore play. wen have an important role to play. and today we are here to express our progress over the last 20 years to ensure first responders and emergency management personnel havee the resources to effectively and to protect human life, to protect the american people. i thank you for staying focused today on that goal.
and on that purpose. we never want a vicious and cowardly attack like we saw on 911 to ever happen to us again. that is not a political goal. that should be everybody's goal. and so i i want to thank you for what you have added to this conversation, and the information you have given us as members of congress who are laser focused on making sure you have the resources that you need. a part of that of course of the dhs grants. and i would just like to ask of all of the witnesses how has dhs preparedness grants state homeland security program help further develop the communication strategy. i would like to ask all of the witnesses and doctor rodrigues will start with you.
for what we have to spend it the grant on. as we enter a period of what we have to be very flexible, the mandatory minimum in my view we need to remain flexible and nimble particular for state and local jurisdictions were. >> thank you so much mr. rodrigues, chief lumbar? >> thank you very much at share. the grants have been phenomenal. in fact have been absolute absolute essential, certainly for our region. we are not just buying equipment although equipment is very important. we have been able to get over the hump so to speak, as far as speeding up processes to make sure that our radio systems intertwined to all of this radio systems around us at the state, local level, the tribal level and whatnot.
and additionally they have helped us as far as training and exercises for the equipment is only as good as the ability of what you're using. so over the years she said multiple training exercise sinners we got to useo the equipment and practice talking to each other before the big disaster. and then in the usage or using sethe grants for many is to work on policy so game day here is what i need to do, here's where i need to go. the policy, the equipment, the usage company governance committee has all got to work together. the grants have been instrumental in our reason and many like hours per. >> thank you, crip and a report of jacksonville, it meandered i'm sure you are familiar with that area. but i so appreciate what you said, the scenario, the amount of support may be different but you are responding to the
same calls and forced the same laws. that's really the same. could you talk a little bit about the importance of the grants in your area? >> certainly, thank you again madam chair. the unfortunate reality is that typically what we see with regard to dhs monies is that there typically funded or funneled to the more urban areas down in broward county the southern part of the state into devol and orange counties. i understand the importance of protecting the infrastructures, ports and some ofomof the assets that we have in those more populous areas. but sometimes it feels as if the more rural areas of florida often are overlooked or cannot meet the demands of the reporting requirements when other grants.
>> thank you share for last but not least captain meyer. >> one of the things we see with the funding isn't essential to help us move forward. especially since 911 and the defendant while it has been reduced it has stabilized the last few years. we ask you continue finding that moving forward. with 25. >> captain meyer we are having some audio. >> subcommittee. and with the communication subcommittee we've seen our amount of that shrink too. but chris is correct we have addressed more training issues rather than equipment related. here's the thing, the grant guidance we are able to give the best direction possible to avoid the proprietary
interfaces and these connections for communication packages will be in a much better position. thank you for supporting us on that. >> thank you so much the chair recognizes ranking member in the cabinet for five-member unchecked minutes. >> thank you madam chairwoman preview hit on one of the issues that he really wanted to bring it to light and discuss today which is the challenge of some of our rural communities have. so many of them are really unattainable from a number of vantage points. one being, they do not meet the requirements. we have the main city which is exactly 400 people over the threshold for certain grants for low population areas. because at that the exact same struggle, the very small rural communities have but 400 person over the limit exclude
them from a number of grants put them in a pile to compete with cities like jacksonville, orlando,o, miami. so the sheriff, i would love for you to touch on this. i went through 28 pages of available grants of dhs. it looks like the putnam county several of the rural communities, as was mentioned earlier at 90% america's role one in five americans live in rural america. when you look at that list of available dhs grants, communities and rural communities are only eligible to apply to about ten -- 15% of those. can you talk about how you guys are getting creative on what we could be doing to open that grants a little more to makes recovering but the urban areas is both super rural communities? >> certainly. i also this is a qualifier, certain when itt comes to grant them an important
requirement to need for accountability. but whenever irg manage an organization like mine were we have 256 full-time employees full and part-time employees, it is difficult when you contrast us i have a staff of several thousand people and an entire floor in the building dedicated to management of grants. unfortunately those are just resources we do not have available to us. like you said a few years ago the quagmire we are in place and outstanding growth of what we have but knox is out of eligibility for many of them. i would ask each of you to reconsider the eligibility requirements to open them up to some of rural america so we have access to that money. >> thank you sheriff. this is for chief lumbered.
in your testimony you had highlighted was critical to improving and operability brady highlighted when the first organizations to bring together representatives from public safety association as well as emergency responders in the field. can you talk a little bit more how important is how emergency responders in the field, rank and file all the way up management when discussing national communications plan. and as a caveat to that could also talk about from your perspective, do you think rural america is represented accurately and adequately in these discussions when you are building this out? >> what are the key points you captured on congresswoman, first response is only effective in so much as the secondary response is able to
sustain the event. one of the things it has been so well-received is to actually bring in those other parties. so a dear friend of mine was a public works director in gainsborough, florida represent public works throughout the united states recognizing over time but on operability issues sustaining the response the police, fire, ems nine what are doing, being able to bring in experts like director man on talk about you want to get the water on the big fire, if you want to keep the roads open, how are we going to be able to communicate out to us? and continue that dialogue? sit, strive to maintain a really diverse group was first a federal, state, local people are brought together. responders are brought together. not just big cities, but are smaller more rural areas
brought together two. one hundred fight at the end of the day even though some of us are bigger and smaller some issues are the same. the western united states 50% or almost 50% of the land is federal out here. you do not have too go too far from the big cities to get some very rural area. with the wildland fires there every year we are going there a lot. the funding and support the federal government has put forth i'm helping us facilitate those relationships the bank for the buck we have been getting is just amazing as far as bringing us together and let us work are problems out, i hope that answers your a question. >> thank you chairwoman demings and you to older witnesses here today. this is an issue that's important every single one of our congressional districts through inspection work
effectively, efficiently and delivering real solutions that meet the needs on the ground. so look forward to continue networking thank you congresswoman and chairwoman for allowing a second round of questions. click sound to thank the ranking member i too look forward to continuing the work with you and other members of the subcommittee to make sure that we are being responsive to the needs of all america. particularly looking at grant eligibility. i look forward to that work. what if there any additional members who like to ask questions to chair recognizes from texas ms. jackson lee for five minutes. >> thank you madam chair. i would,. [inaudible] [inaudible] rankingau member.
i'm going to ask director rodriguez and i certainly want to express my appreciation. [inaudible] so obviously january 6 was in extreme day for all of us. drew out everything for america, to see americans attacking our first responders. [inaudible] it was unspeakable. but the coordination question i am consumed with. i want to ask the question, it may be again stated ultimately
this collaboration other dedicated bandwidth allowed first not perform reliably for first responders worry are in the process of working for two of our units and self-sufficiency for the district emergency communication. i know you might not pointedly be able to promise but i am understand that are capitol police for example, they were speaking and operability it's important in the district of columbia can all communicate. that we the capitol police, other federal authorities and all of you. [inaudible] the requiring of more funding so that congress how we can approve the funding on how to secure this competency and also the verse next?
on what you might need, director? >> thank you very much. >> thank you representative jackson lee. >> mr. rodrigues. and you hear me okay? >> representative jackson behavior you did have some communications issues but i hope doctor rodrigues was able to hear enough to be able to respond to your questions. >> gas thank you representative. so, thank you for the question. and certainly during january 6 as i mentioned first net did operate consistently and reliably. we at the time the u.s. capitol police was not on first note. again, any questions about getting them on or what the plan is to do that i would have to refer to the capitol police for that. but i do know that following the sixth of january, we did
sort of reemphasize the importance of communication. you will recall less than three weeks ago there is lot of concern over the september 18 protest that were coming to the district. a lot of security was put up around the capitol police did engage in an extensive enter agency effort to make sure both the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies wereon all on the same page. we did institute in use at that time the national capitol tactical plan which allowed for and operability across the radio channels. which really helped us. we learned a lot from january 6 in terms of communication we continue to work with our federal partners to make sure we just keep her funding and building up that capability.
>> so if i might. [inaudible] would it be helpful all of the components including the capitol police have first net in a place that is so visited, so much potential target and so much a singular entity which is the capitol of the united states and home of the district of columbia, how important is it to have that resource? >> yes, ma'am i think it is very important. any effort that drives us towardrd greater operability and coordination is always a good thing. >> thank you madam chair i will yield back. go ahead. >> i would also add in addition to radio, video data is also important as well. >> the gentleman yields back in. with that i want to thank all of our witnesses for your
invaluable testimony today. and for your service every day. and i want to thank a our members for their questions. additionally, without objection, l i would now like to submit a statement for the record from the major cities chief association. the members of the subcommittee -- i am sorry. we submit the statement for the record, members of the subcommittee may have additional questions for the witnesses. and we ask that you respond expeditiously in writing to these questions. under committee rules the subcommittee record shall be kept open for ten days. without objection the subcommittee stands adjourned. >> house returns tuesday with the votes later in the week on
a legislative to enforce arbitration agreements for sexual assault and harassment survivors in the workplace. members also expected to vote on whether to prevent foreign individuals who violate lgbtq human rights from entering the u.s. on the other side the cap of the sun is back monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern and will consider several present binds judicial and executive nominees. they include university pennsylvania president to serve as u.s. ambassador to germany. and read at joe louis to be president of the export/import bank. watch live coverage of the house on c-span, the senate on c-span2, online at c-span.org or on our new c-span out radio app. c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more including cox. >> cox is committed to providing eligible families access to affordable internet
to the connect to complete program. bridging the digital divide one connected and engaged in at a time. cox, bringing us closer. >> cox supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers. giving you a front row seat to democracy. next, look at implementation of the first step act which made her forms to federal prisons and sentencings when it was signed into law by president trump in 2018. other topics include the impact of covid-19 on prison inmates. and pretrial conditions for people arrested in connection with lester's attack on the u.s. capitol. the hearing runs at three hours. >> the subcommittee will come to order. the chair is authorized for recess of the committee at any time.