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
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.