Navajo delegates seek to partner in implementation of emergency responder program
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Several members of the Navajo Nation Council were pleased with the recent announcement from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey that the state of Arizona has opted in to the FirstNet emergency first responder network system that will deliver a specialized wireless broadband network to Arizona’s public safety officials and first responders.
Arizona is the thirteenth state to opt-in to the federal program.
FirstNet is a federal program that was established in 2012 by Congress, which is designed to deliver a nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety, to strengthen public safety users’ communications capabilities enabling them to respond more quickly and effectively to accidents, disasters, and emergencies. States have the option of whether or not to opt-in to the program. The state of New Mexico also recently decided to opt-in to the program. The state of Utah has yet to issue a decision on whether or not to opt-in to the program.
Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. (Low Mountain, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tachee/Blue Gap, Tselani/Cottonwood), a member of the Law and Order Committee, said the council will continue to seek participation in the planning and implementation of the program to ensure that the Navajo Nation is included in the coverage area.
On Aug. 9, Delegate Begay introduced Legislation No. 0302-17, which requests the state of Utah to opt-in to the FirstNet program as well. The legislation is assigned to the Law and Order Committee and the Naabik’íyáti’ Committee for final consideration.
On May 24, Speaker Bates and Begay met with Ducey and requested the state opt-in to the FirstNet program and work closely with the Navajo Nation to make the program effective across the 27,000 square-miles of the Navajo Nation to help police and other first responders.
Begay said he will seek meetings with the governors of Arizona and New Mexico to address the implementation of the FirstNet system, and to urge the Utah governor to opt-in to the program as well.