Who needs it anyway?

מערכת תקשורת חירום בלוס-אנג'לס

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L.A. Residents and Firefighting Authorities object to Emergency Communication system.

After the 9/11 attacks, the federal government encouraged authorities in large cities to build emergency communications systems that would allow separate agencies to coordinate between themselves quickly and efficiently. The government offered grants to help pay some of the costs of these systems, pending completion of the work by a set deadline.

This plan, however, has not yet materialized in Los Angeles County, years after officials signed up for the federal program. On top of technological hurdles, contracting issues and the constantly changing requirements on the part of the Federal government, Los Angeles County is dealing with objections from firefighting authorities, as well as from residents with health concerns. Some are worried that the projected placing of giant cell towers in their neighborhoods would form health hazards, as well devaluating property. In addition, many areas have dropped out of the project, stating they do not require the network and do not want to cover costs.

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According to HomeLand Security News Wire, supporters of the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) are now trying to get plans for the communications system back on track. The LA-RICS Authority planned to build two separate public-safety communications systems — a Long-Term Evolution (LTE) broadband communications network providing wireless broadband data, and a Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communications system.

The Los Angeles Times notes that if the Long-Term Evolution data system is not completed by the end of September, local officials will have to return any unspent federal money. To meet the deadline, the LA-RICS Authority decided to build its cell towers on publicly owned sites, including fire stations, and received exemption from state environmental review requirements.