Interoperable Communication Enhancement Act passes committee

Donald Payne, Jr. | Courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives

The State Wide Interoperable Communication Enhancement Act (SWIC) was passed with unanimous support in the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communication Thursday.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), it facilitates the creation of SWIC positions in every state to ensure their operability and ability to maintain systems.

“The derailment of Amtrak Train 188 serves as an important reminder that equipping our first responders with the tools they need to do their jobs is not a Democratic or a Republican priority; it’s an American priority,” Payne said. “Responding quickly and effectively to emergencies requires robust and ongoing communication between emergency personnel across all levels of government."

This bill has bipartisan co-sponsorship from Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee chair Martha McSally (R-AZ), House Committee on Homeland Security chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Homeland Security Committee ranking member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS). SWICs are working through all levels of government and providing education and training to first response personnel and are a leading force for coordination.

“This coordination is possible because of SWICs, who have the experience and strategic vision needed to educate, train and connect first responders with one another,” Payne said. “Without a coordinating body responsible for guiding interoperability efforts, states undermine any gains they have made in emergency communications.”

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