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Ivey announces state deal with FirstNet, AT&T

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama’s public safety officers are going wireless.

At a press conference in a Montgomery Fire Department precinct on Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey announced a new partnership between the state and FirstNet and AT&T to establish emergency personnel’s communications on a wireless broadband network around the state.

“Keeping Alabama’s residents, visitors and first responders safe is of the highest concern,” Ivey said. “This collaboration with FirstNet and AT&T will allow us to provide our first responders increased capabilities to communicate as effectively and efficiently as possible, while also ensuring that our residents and businesses have the best possible services provided to them in times of emergency.”

AT&T will build and operate the network at no cost to the state. FirstNet will provide innovative devices and software to facilitate communications between first responders.

“I’m relying on AT&T to make sure we’re good,” Ivey said, when asked how the state plans to keep the system up to date with technology changing so quickly.

“Reliable, effective communications systems and networks are most important when lives are on the line,” Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Hal Taylor said. “This network, and the new tools it will provide, will help our first responders do their jobs more safely and effectively, and it will help save lives all across the state.”

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The decision to select FirstNet and AT&T wasn’t without some controversy. As APR reported last week, former ALEA director, Ryan Burchnell, could be in violation of ethics laws that prohibit state workers from leaving a job and going immediately to work for a company doing business with the state.

Is a former ALEA executive running afoul of revolving door statute?

Burchnell served as executive director for ALEA until last May. He took a new position with AT&T in June.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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