City receives funding to improve public safety
Newark, N.J., has received $10 million in federal funds to upgrade its communications systems and to deploy an aviation unit. The city sought the appropriations after the events of Sept. 11, during which its public safety agencies had trouble communicating with state police and Coast Guard officials.
The city will use the money to construct a digital communications system that will allow its public safety agencies to communicate with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. Additionally, the city will refurbish a New Jersey Air National Guard helicopter that will be used by its Police and Fire departments. It also plans to use the money to train police officers and firefighters to cope with sophisticated weapons.
While Newark’s emergency response agencies did not have trouble communicating with each other on Sept. 11, they did have difficulty reaching other state and federal law enforcement agencies because of incompatible radio systems. The communication problems were worsened by the collapse of the World Trade Center and its communications tower, which silenced cell phones and state police radios.