City lobbies for $4-million plan

Robert Chacon

Councilman Bob Yousefian and others are back in the nation's capital,

lobbying legislators for $4 million for an emergency- communications

system that can connect cities across the Southland.

Today and Thursday, Yousefian, Glendale Fire Battalion Chief Don

Wright, city information services administrator Steve Hronek and

lobbyist Elaine Aguilar will visit the offices of several lawmakers

to ask for fundsto complete the Interagency Communications

Interoperability system, a regional radio network that allows

seamless communication between municipalities.

A contingent of representatives from other cities, including

Burbank, Beverly Hills, Pomona and Montclair, are also part of the

group that will visit the offices of Sens. Dianne Feinstein and

Barbara Boxer, Rep. Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino) and Glendale Reps.

Adam Schiff and David Dreier, among others.

"The idea for this system is that everyone has radios that work

with one system," said Yousefian, who is on his third trip to

Washington, D.C., to lobby for funds for the system. "This is the

Internet version of communication systems, and our goal is to acquire

some of the money to finish the connections."

Burbank Police Chief Tom Hoefel and other city officials are also

in Washington, D.C.

With increasingly obsolete radio systems, communication between

cities during regional natural disasters has been difficult, fire

officials said. During massive fires that ravaged large tracts of

land in San Bernardino and Simi Valley, Glendale Fire Department

units found it difficult to relay messages to firefighters from other

cities.

The same thing can happen if police departments are involved in

pursuits of suspects across city borders.

"This system is very important, and not only for us," Glendale

Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. "Los Angeles County will be the largest

county in the U.S. that will have that system up and running. This

model program that will allow police and fire departments to operate

on the same platform is dearly needed."

Cities that have already signed on to the system include

Montebello, Pomona, Montclair, Torrance and Beverly Hills. With some

help from the federal government, the cities have gotten the system

up and running.

Other cities are certain to join in, Yousefian said.

"We are the original members, and as we build the system, more and

more people will come into the system, which is exciting," he said,

adding that as they pay to join, operational and infrastructural

expenses for Glendale will be offset.

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