Lara’s Measure Ensuring Completion of the Critical Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Heads to the Governor

August 31, 2012

AB 1486 Will Connect More than 34,000 First Responders in Los Angeles County and Protects $154.6 million in Federal Economic Stimulus Grant to Create Jobs and Increase Public Safety

SACRAMENTO – Today the California State Legislature approved a bill by Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) that will ensure the timely completion of the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS), an interagency emergency preparedness effort which includes law enforcement, fire service, and health service professionals that would potentially serve more than 34,000 first responders in the Los Angeles Region.

“LA RICS is the most important emergency preparedness and homeland security project in the state. CEQA provides important safeguards for our most vulnerable communities; nevertheless, the public safety needs of the greater Los Angeles County are dire. We cannot allow a major federal grant intended for the most populous county in the country slip away to other states. As the largest project of its kind in the nation, we must make certain our first responders get the tools they need to perform their jobs and save lives.  The project’s completion is critical to the health and safety of millions of Californians and creates more than 2,000 jobs which couldn’t come at a better time,” said Assembly Member Lara.

When complete, the LA-RICS will replace the current patchwork of incompatible and outdated stand-alone communications systems used by law enforcement agencies and fire departments -- both of which serve a third of the State’s population.  AB 1486 provides a narrowly-focused exemption from specific requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), if certain criterion is met. Specifically, the bill would ensure that LA-RICS maintains a $154.6 million in federal economic stimulus grant awarded by the US Department of Commerce.

LA-RICS was established in 2009, and is a collaborative effort which includes law enforcement, fire service, and health service professionals, and would serve over 34,000 first responders in the Los Angeles region through voice and data communication systems.  The project will connect over 50 law enforcement agencies and 31 fire departments that serve a 4,084 square mile region with 10 million residents.