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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 10, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General

 

Roger Shatzkin
609-292-4791

 
 


Attorney General Appoints Chief Public Safety Communications Officer

State Making Progress On Improved Inter-Agency Communications


TRENTON — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey has appointed Raymond J. Hayling II as the state’s first Chief Public Safety Communications Officer, a position designed to improve and coordinate New Jersey’s public safety communications planning, funding and interoperability systems.

In his new position, Hayling is New Jersey’s focal point for ensuring communications “interoperability,” or the ability for public safety agencies to communicate across jurisdictions and disciplines when needed, the Attorney General said. Harvey noted that, as a result of efforts to date, New Jersey has already demonstrated preliminary communication interoperability among different jurisdictions.

“The events of 9/11 clearly demonstrated the need for police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel to be able to communicate effectively in times of need,” Harvey said. “More recently, the 9/11 Commission’s report reemphasized the need to communicate among various first responder agencies and across geographic and political jurisdictions. Ray has already applied innovative solutions to move New Jersey quickly to interoperability among federal, local, county and state agencies.”

“One of the challenges is to implement a viable short-term answer to interoperability among the different existing communication systems, while seeking a more global solution in the long run,” Hayling said. “Another challenge is that interoperability can be problematic. You do not want everyone talking at once, causing large-scale confusion among agencies. That’s why the coordination provided by the creation of this position is important. I thank Attorney General Harvey for the confidence he’s placed in my ability to meet these challenges.”

Successful Testing

According to Harvey, New Jersey has already tested an interoperable communication system that employs newly acquired radio frequencies linked through central dispatch centers. This initial phase of an interoperability solution is being implemented in New Jersey’s Northeastern Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) region, which includes the cities of Jersey City and Newark, as well as Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Union counties. This technological solution provided successful interoperable communications this past summer during the Republican National Convention and during the period that the Homeland Security Alert System was elevated to orange status for the financial sector in Northern New Jersey as a result of identified threats against the Prudential building in Newark. The state is currently in the process of implementing this solution in the state’s remaining 15 counties.

The primary goal in solving interoperability is understanding that no one single technology or other solution is a “silver bullet”. The focus for New Jersey is to provide a series of successful technologies and other answers to the practitioners. This will allow the first responders to “stand up” the appropriate answer in a crisis without having to worry about the correct solution. During one test, initiated and directed by Hayling, the system successfully provided inter-agency communications among more than 40 federal, state and local public safety agencies.

Harvey noted that interoperability is a high priority for all public safety agencies nationwide. In spring 2002, the federal government established the SAFECOM program to help local, state and federal public safety agencies to improve public safety response through more effective and efficient interoperable wireless communications. The SAFECOM program is now located in the Department of Homeland Security. At the state level, The Public Safety Interoperable Communications Act, adopted into law in January 2004, established a State Public Safety Interoperable Communications Coordinating Council (SPSICCC), a 16-person body made up of state cabinet members or their designees and representatives of the state’s first responder organizations. The SPSICC, which is administratively located in the Office of the Attorney General, is charged with developing a strategic plan for statewide interoperability.

In addition to serving as the state’s Chief Public Safety Communications Officer, Hayling also serves as Executive Director and Attorney General’s designee in the SPSICC. He is also Vice Chair of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Region 28 Planning Committees and Chair of the FCC Region 8 Interoperability Sub-Committee. (New Jersey is divided between FCC Regions 8 and 28). He is also a member of the SAFECOM Advisory Board. A former commissioner on the state’s Executive Commission on Ethical Standards, Hayling also served as Chief of Staff for the New Jersey Office of Information Technology. Prior to working for state government, he served in various management positions at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. A resident of Somerset County, Hayling earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

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