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Public safety officers WILL be ready

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's considered a life-saving initiative and today the Government of Guam and Joint Region Marianas signed a partnership aimed at ensuring our public safety officers - no matter which government they work for - are ready to respond to any emergency situation.

They say communication is key and undoubtedly it's a major factor to saving lives during a natural or man-made disaster. And today a special partnership was sealed between the military and GovGuam enhancing just that. "I really view this as a coming together and a tremendous opportunity for both of us in a win-win scenario," explained Rear Admiral Tilghman Payne. He and Governor Eddie Calvo signed a memorandum of agreement allowing GovGuam to use the military's enterprise land mobile radio services. This system will replace the current GovGuam system which is outdated by over two decades and has outlived the equipment's usefulness.

The partnership makes perfect sense as Rear Admiral Payne says the military is just as part of the Guam community. He noted, "And so this initiative is I think tremendous in order to improve the communication and coordination between our first responders and to provide that kind of safety and security for our community."

And whether it's the recent flooding the island experienced in the last week to the North Korea incident earlier this year, Governor Calvo says this partnership allows for quick and consistent communication during an emergency. in fact, he says they noticed the weaknesses in terms of communication when this administration first came into office in 2011 right when the Japan tsunami and earthquake hit. "So it's so important to ensure that our communication systems are first rate", he said.

Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio, who oversees public safety, meanwhile says it's been well more than a year's worth of work to get to this point adding it's not about "us" and "them" but coming together for the needs of everyone who lives on Guam. "So what we're looking at right now is the fusion of the needs of not just the military and the Government of Guam but the needs of the people of Guam and all the people who reside here whether you're here for three years or here for your entire lifetime, the needs of our island is the same," he said.

We should note the military will also benefit as JRM will use two of GovGuam's radio antenna sites in Malojloj and Yona to expand their reach of radio communications. The agreement meanwhile will remain in effect for two years in which time GovGuam will complete repairs to its own radio network. the administration has since dedicated $2.5 million for the repairs and the system upgrade in a phased in approach. And even after the repairs are complete, the partnership will continue as the radio networks will still be able to intercommunicate. 

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