Blunt appoints first ever Interoperable Communications Officer
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Blunt appoints first ever Interoperable Communications Officer

Date: September 26, 2007
By: Bria Scudder
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - A long-term communications expert will take on a new job to improve emergency communication systems within the state of Missouri.

Gov. Matt Blunt has appointed Jim Lundsted to serve as the state's first Interoperable Communications Officer.

The inability of various public safety units to communicate with each other was a major problem for police and firefighters responding to the World Trade Center disaster in 2001. 

Brian Jamison, deputy director of Missouri's Public Safety Department, said that in Missouri technology has "segregated" communication among public safety agencies.

Jamison said there are many different technologies being used across the state which prevents communication from one place to another.  "We need to increase communication from a local level to a state level,"

But research and development have reached a stage that the problems can be resolved.

"Our goal is to achieve interoperability" "This is something that's going to take time. It's not a quick fix."

Lundsted has been involved with governmental communications for almost 35 years.  Most recently, he was responsible for wireless, telephone and data communications for the Conservation Department.

The governor's spokesperson, Jessica Robinson, said that Lundsted's new position will help insure that local and federal agencies will be able to be in direct contact during crises. "This is an ongoing effort that agencies can communicate with equipment and language during emergencies."

He created the position for effective emergency communication.

Lundsted serves on the State Interoperable Executive Committee that the governor created last October to examine communication coordination among government agencies.

Since Lundsted has been with the committee, Robinson said that they have helped secure grant funding and made strides toward statewide communication.

Mark James,director of the Department of Public Service said, "He knows how to deal well with people, he's very well known in the pubic safety arena in Missouri and very well respected so that just made him the perfect choice."

James said that this is an initiative that is important. He said he thinks that Lundsted "brings a wealth of information and experience." Emergency communication is important all across the board."

Jamison said, emergency communication includes many different facets. There are many different technologies being used across the state which prevents communication from one place to another. He said he thinks that we have reached a place in research and development where we can begin to solve this problem.

"Our goal is to achieve interoperability" "This is something that's going to take time. It's not a quick fix."