KY House member delivers $26m first response system

Chairman of House homeland security committee says Kentucky - not just New York and DC - need digital wireless interoperable system.

Just in time to mark yesterday's anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Kentucky officials unveiled a new wireless communications system for the state's first responders, AP reported.

The new first responder system, dubbed "KYWINS Messenger," relies on a state-run wireless network that allows officers to communicate via radio and instant messages from even the most remote areas in rural Kentucky using lap top computers installed in vehicles. The computer program includes a database that can retrieve background information on people and buildings.

Taking some credit for the new system, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), who heads a House committee that oversees spending for the Department of Homeland Security, said the $26 million system will help first responders, such as local police and firefighters, keep safe while working emergencies efficiently.

While it's certainly true that New York police and fire were hamstrung by lack of interoperable communications, it doesn't necessarily follow that states like Kentucky will ever be the subject of terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, Rogers declared that state-of-the-art response systems shouldn't be limited to New York and Washington.

"We are at war and it's a world war," said Rogers. "It's low-grade with hot spots - but it's a world war." He added that major highways, railroads and other "critical infrastructure" exist in Kentucky, making it equally vulnerable to attack: "Every part of the country has vulnerabilities."


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