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Commissioner Rosenworcel Remarks on Receiving APCO Award

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Released: May 15, 2013








MAY 14, 2013

Thank you APCO International for this tremendous honor. And thank you to APCO’s
leadership for being such a powerful resource both for the Federal Communications
Commission—and for me personally—during my first year in office. In fact, today marks one
year for me at the agency. And this award is a really fabulous way to mark it. Thank you.
I believe that in public service, public safety is paramount. But that is more than just
instinct. It’s actually the law. It is right there in the very first sentence of the Communications
Act, where Congress instructed the Commission to make available “to all the people of the
United States . . . rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication
service” in order to promote the “safety of life and property[.]”
This very first sentence is what led me to make my very first speech in Minneapolis at
your annual conference. I had a chance there to meet so many of you. And in the time since, I
have met so many more. During that speech, I committed to visiting 9-1-1 centers across the
country. I have since been to at least one public safety operation a month, including in
California, Alaska, Minnesota, Vermont, Nevada, New Jersey, and Maryland. In fact, just last
week, I had the opportunity to visit Terry Hall at his hometown communications center in
Yorktown, Virginia.
In every visit I am struck by the same thing. The everyday grace of those who staff our
public safety answering points. Their calm when calls roll in and crises mount. Their deep,
unassailable commitment to public safety. They are heroes—pure and simple.
Every visit is a reminder of the importance of public safety communications. Every trip
is a reminder of the herculean tasks so many of you perform with dignity every day. Every stop
deepens my resolve that the FCC needs to make public safety a priority in everything it does.
Because whether it’s putting in place text to 9-1-1, fostering a movement to next generation 9-1-
1, or getting up and running the great and historic opportunity in the 700 MHz band presented by
the First Responder Network Authority—there are a lot of challenges.
Finally, I want to quickly say a word about those who have come before me on this stage.
It is a special privilege to be recognized with tonight’s other honorees, all of whom I am
lucky enough to know personally. I met Sheriff Fitzgerald at your annual conference last year
and was impressed immediately with his commitment to public safety communications.

I have worked with Ken Moran for years and he is well deserving of the award for
leadership in regulatory service. More than that, Ken is an absolute legend back at the FCC.
Finally, I have been fortunate to work with Congresswoman Eshoo in a number of
capacities over the years. When I was working United States Senate Committee on Commerce,
Science, and Transportation, I saw firsthand how hard Congresswoman Eshoo fought to improve
our nation’s 911 services. Because of her efforts, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation
Act—the law that created the First Responder Network Authority— reestablished the 9-1-1 Joint
Implementation Coordination Office and clears the way for as much as $115 million in grant
funding for next generation 9-1-1 projects. Congresswoman Eshoo is an inspiration.
So tonight I want to take the opportunity to thank the other honorees, and thank all of
you. I have seen firsthand the efforts of APCO and its members to drive policy and deliver
results for public safety. Your leadership, past and present, is indispensable. The work you do is
Keep at it, and we are going to take emergency response to new heights. Keep at it, and
we are going to use new technologies and put them to use to build a better, stronger, and smarter
emergency communications system. Keep at it, and we are going to make this country safer. I
want to work with you and look back and say we did it—together.
Thank you for this award and thank you for all that you do.

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