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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: April 21, 2008

Sen. Kenneth Corn

Corn: Kimball Report Reaffirms Need for Statewide Interoperable Communications System

In October of 2007, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry commissioned a study on the development of a statewide emergency communications plan from L. Robert Kimball and Associates Architects and Engineers. On Monday, Sen. Kenneth Corn said the findings of the recently released study reaffirm the need for the state to implement an interoperable statewide communications system.

Corn said such a system would allow emergency personnel from various agencies to communicate efficiently in times of crisis. Currently, agencies use independent systems that cannot interoperate with each other.

“The findings and recommendations of the study confirm what many of us already knew – we aren’t adequately prepared for disasters and emergencies,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “In emergency situations, speed saves lives. Requesting this study was the first step toward improving our emergency readiness, and now we need to move forward and act on the recommendations.”

In recent years, Corn has been a vocal advocate for the establishment of a statewide emergency communications system. In 2006, Corn authored legislation that would have authorized $50.7 million in bonds to fund the establishment of such a system. Corn authored the legislation following the tragic deaths of Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Matthew S. Evans and Oklahoma City Police Officer Jeff Rominger, whose cars collided while in a police pursuit.

If local, state and federal agencies had been able to communicate with each other, Corn said, the tragedy could have been prevented.

“We must do everything in our power to ensure that tragedies like this are prevented,” Corn said. “This is an investment that could save lives. Oklahomans should never be left behind when tragedy strikes.”

In addition to recommending that the state develop the communications system, the study suggests Oklahoma could be positioned to emerge as a leader in emergency management by examining best practices from other states.

Corn said that if the Legislature is serious about making Oklahoma a safer place, it must act on the recommendations of the study.

“Across our state, we’ve seen the devastation caused by natural disasters and terrorism,” Corn said. “We have a moral responsibility to provide for the safety of our citizens. If we aren’t doing everything in our power to prepare for disaster and emergency, then we are neglecting our most fundamental responsibility.”

The study estimated the cost of installing and maintaining the system to be $5.4 million in its first year.

For more information contact:
Senator Corn's Office:  (405) 521-5576

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