PSBTA Offers Communications Support to VA Police to Improve Patient, Staff Safety


May 17, 2024

Washington, DC — The Public Safety Broadband Technology Association (PSBTA) stands
ready to help the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) improve real-time communications
with its own law enforcement agency and partnering agencies in all levels of government — in
order to boost patient and staff safety at the VA’s 1300-plus health care facilities.

This was the promise delivered by retired Assistant Chief Charles Dowd, PSBTA Vice President
and former Commanding Officer of the New York City Police Department’s Communications
Division, during his May 16, 2024 appearance before the Senate’s Subcommittee on Oversight
and Investigations in Washington, DC. The Subcommittee was conducting an oversight hearing
entitled, “Ensuring VA’s Security: How Can Congress Best Support VA’s Law Enforcement?” The
PSBTA is composed of the nation’s leading Public Safety executives and associations.

“As we understand, the VA appears to have a critical need for interoperable communications
both locally and nationally that will allow them to talk directly to their partners and to share
critical information such as situational awareness,” Assistant Chief Dowd told the
Subcommittee’s members. “I recommend their communications solution should be looked at
from a holistic national purview that not only provides a communications solution for the VA’s
law enforcement but may include additional elements of technology for other divisions of the VA
and the local, state, and federal mutual aid partners. This is recommended so there is a
nationwide, sustainable, common solution, and we would encourage the VA to harness
advanced broadband solutions that can integrate with the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband
Network. There should no longer be a need to encourage disparate systems for one
organization because of geography anymore.”

“We applaud Congress for working to bolster the VA’s emergency preparedness posture
through investments in communications systems at VA medical facilities; however, we would
caution against limiting its scope to legacy radio technology,” said Assistant Chief Dowd. “The
integration of broadband-enabled push-to-talk into traditional radio systems expands the
coverage reach of traditional radio systems, while also increasing the system’s functionality and
improving redundancy and reliability.

For more information:

PSBTA Media Contact:

John Paul Jones


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