Florida Fire Chief Honored for Leadership in Public Safety Communications

Chief Jeffrey Lane Receives FirstNet Authority Harlin McEwen Award

Dec. 9, 2020 – Gainesville Fire Rescue’s (GFR) Chief Jeffrey Lane has been awarded the prestigious Chief Harlin R. McEwen Public Safety Broadband Communications Award (Harlin McEwen Award) for his outstanding leadership and contributions to advancing broadband communications for public safety personnel across the nation. 

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) announced the award today at its quarterly Board meeting. The award was created in honor of Chief (ret.) Harlin R. McEwen, who was a driving force in the establishment of FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network, and was the founding chair of the FirstNet Authority’s Public Safety Advisory Committee.

“I am extremely honored to receive the Chief Harlin McEwen Award,” said Chief Lane. “Public safety has a lifesaving mission and deserves the very best tools and capabilities available to help them serve and protect their communities. I am proud to have worked with the brave women and men of public safety over the last 30 years. Their stories and dedicated service inspire me to advocate for the best broadband communication tools that meet their needs and keep them safe and secure.”

The FirstNet Authority established the Harlin McEwen Award in 2017 to recognize the spirit of service, commitment, and dedication of the nation’s first responders. The award is given to an individual who has contributed to the advancement of broadband communications used for daily public safety operations and responses to incidents and emergencies of all types and sizes.

“Chief Lane is a leader in the field of public safety communications and an innovator when it comes to using mobile broadband to enhance public safety operations,” said FirstNet Authority Board Chair Tip Osterthaler. “The chief’s vision and ability to work across jurisdictions and disciplines illustrate the ultimate spirit of the Harlin McEwen Award.”

FirstNet Authority Board Vice Chair Chief Richard Carrizzo said, “The FirstNet Authority honors Chief Lane for his service to the community and his dedication to advancing broadband communications for public safety in Florida and throughout the country. Congratulations to Chief Lane for an accomplished career in the fire service and for receiving the Harlin McEwen Award.”

Chief Lane began his career with GFR in 1990, achieving every rank in the fire service with specialties as a Communication Officer, Hazardous Materials Technician, Paramedic, Incident Commander, and Fire Inspector. He was named Chief of GFR in 2015 and led several key efforts to enhance and innovate Gainesville’s public safety communications landscape. This included spearheading a multi-jurisdictional effort(link is external) to evaluate wireless broadband providers in the Gainesville and Alachua County area. Because of Chief Lane’s efforts, the city has implemented a seamless, city-wide integrated communications system that benefits various agencies and the communities in which they serve.

Chief Lane has held numerous leadership positions throughout his career, including as president of the Gainesville Professional Firefighters from 1998 to 2011 and member of the Multi-Agency Radio Board and State Advisory Boards for the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and Florida State Fire College. He has also received many awards and honors, including being named Officer of the Year in 2008.

About the First Responder Network Authority

The FirstNet Authority is an independent entity within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Created in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. Learn more at FirstNet.gov/media kit and follow the FirstNet Authority (@FirstNetGov) on Facebook(link is external) and Twitter(link is external) for updates.

News Media Contact

Ryan Oremland

(202) 770-5761


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