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Port St. Lucie police becomes part of FirstNet program

Posted: 7:21 AM, Aug 08, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-08 11:22:13Z

Police in Port St. Lucie are the first on the Treasure Coast to connect to a new communications platform that gives priority to first responders.

The department has contracted with AT&T to become part of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

After 9/11, the federal government asked telecom companies to find a way to allow first responders to better communicate with one another, whether they are located down the street or in another part of the U.S.

"Whether it's a regular routine call for service or a natural disaster, catastrophe, it allows us to have priority communications during those events," said Port St. Lucie Asst. Chief Richard Del Toro.

"If you look at a highway, and you have an HOV lane, all of our first responders are traveling in that HOV lane every day of the week," said Deanna Valentine of AT&T.

If the FirstNet network goes down, AT&T said it has built dozens of mobile cell sites to assist first responders.

Three cell sites will be based in Florida, which can be deployed quickly if needed.