Public Safety Leaders Unveil New Association Dedicated to FirstNet User Community

First-of-its kind organization offers dedicated platform for FirstNet end-users and ecosystem providers to engage one another

Las Vegas, Nev. (Apr. 3, 2018) – Today, a group of leaders in the public safety community announced the creation of the FirstNet Association, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between end users of the first fully designated public safety wireless broadband network, and those responsible for the continued build out, evolution and maintenance of that system.

Led by Al Gillespie, Past President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Ray Flynn, retired Assistant Sheriff from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Richard Mirgon, Past President of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, FirstNet Association will be driven by an unprecedented collective of knowledge, experience and insight within all disciplines of public safety.

In 2012, Congress enacted legislation that paved the way for the development of a nationwide public safety broadband network for the exclusive use of first responders during times of need. The First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that combines oversight from the Federal Government through the FirstNet Authority and the infrastructure development, maintenance, operational capacity and technical expertise of AT&T, which was awarded the 25-year contract after a rigorous competitive process. With FirstNet now a reality, public safety must have a means to engage with each other and key FirstNet stakeholders to ensure the network meets all of the needs of the end user.

“Public safety professionals must have access to the women and men who touch every portion of the network, from the individuals developing the hardware and software platforms that will operate on the network, to those crafting policies and regulations that will shape how the network is used,” said FirstNet Association president Al Gillespie. “Connecting end users with the people responsible for the network’s success will help ensure the FirstNet network evolves into the best possible version of itself.”

The entire public safety community – first responders, academia, industry partners and other nonprofit associations – will have a dedicated forum to trade ideas, share best practices and offer lessons learned based off their real-life experiences on the FirstNet network. This exchange of ideas will lead to smarter, more effective broadband deployments, which in turn will help drive innovation within public safety departments across the country. In this regard, FirstNet Association will serve as a force multiplier for the important conversations already taking place throughout the FirstNet community.

“Our goal with this organization is to empower a new generation of first responders by providing them with the tools to participate in the advancement of their network,” said Roger Wespe, Executive Director of FirstNet Association. “FirstNet will succeed because first responders collectively choose to engage in this endeavor.”

“The emergence of the FirstNet Association offers great promise for the FirstNet public safety user-community and vendor community, said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson. “We stand ready to encourage its success so that FirstNet fully realizes its exclusive public safety mission.”

More information on the FirstNet Association can be found here:

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Media Contact:
Al Gillespie
(702) 416-3234


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