Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
the research laboratory of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

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2006 Gold Medal for Enhancement of Public Safety Communications

Researchers Receive Department of Commerce's Highest Honor for Enhancement of Public Safety Communications

A team of ten staff members from the PSCR program and National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) in Boulder, Colo., received a group Gold Medal for Personal and Professional Excellence from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Department's highest honor, at ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, November 8, 2006.

DJ Atkinson, Randy Bloomfield, Jeffrey Bratcher, Dereck Orr, Eldon Haakinson (retired), Eric Nelson, Val Pietrasiewicz, Andrew Thiessen, Ken Tilley, and Bruce Ward received a group Gold Medal for their efforts to enhance public safety communications. The team received the award for assisting government-wide planning, assessment, and standardization of technologies to achieve interoperable communications among emergency responders.

The team received the award for assisting government-wide planning, assessment, and standardization of technologies to achieve interoperable communications among "first responders." The team addressed technological advancements to improve radio coverage depended upon by police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, dispatchers, and other first responders during local and national emergencies. This accomplishment supports the Commerce Department's goal of improving public safety communications to better serve Americans and protect American security.

The Gold Medal award specifically highlights the team's leadership in two areas: developing a national strategy for improvement of public safety communications, and assisting the development of technical standards to enable rapid deployment of a new generation of digital land mobile radio systems. Federal, state, and local public safety agencies are widely implementing these systems today.

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