80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Public Notice to examine when, if ever, it is appropriate for one or more wireless carriers, or their authorized agents, to interrupt their own services in an area for a limited time period at the request of a government actor, or have their own services interrupted by a government actor that exercises lawful control over network facilities; and

WHEREAS, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) have filed jointly with the Federal Communications Commission to address concerns and issues related to intentional interruptions of Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS or wireless service) by government agencies for the purpose of ensuring public safety; and

WHEREAS, the Conference of Mayors agrees with filing of the IACP and NSA that reliable wireless services are important; local emergency police, fire or EMS response efforts rely on a vibrant E-911 where a citizen, confronting an emergency, can summon help and be located via the CMRS network; and the economic contribution of wireless services, including their convenience, is well recognized; and

WHEREAS, it is equally documented that terrorists and criminals employ wireless communications; international examples include the harm to the US military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq by cell phone detonation of improvised explosive devices (IED) and the use of cell phones to coordinate and detonate bombs in Madrid Railway Stations; and domestic examples include concerns over cell detonated bomb fears that resulted in New York tunnel shutdowns and the fear of coordinated responses that lead to the shutdown of CMRS services in the Bay Area Regional Transit (BART) system,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors agrees with the position of IACP and NSA that a formal comment process that seeks to compile a record to form a basis of a decision will not effectively resolve this debate nor serve as a predicate to formulating a viable resolution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors calls upon the Federal Communications Commission to empanel a study group, comprised of individuals who have law enforcement and public safety responsibilities at the federal, state and local level as well as those that deploy and maintain networks to develop working guidelines; and the working group should be guided by the following recommendations in addressing this complex issue:

  • As a starting point, wireless interruptions should not be readily employed;

  • Significant study and reasoned discussion is needed to develop meaningful policy and operational guidelines; and

  • Such guidelines must include discussion on how to promote citizen comprehension of public safety’s need for occasion interruptions; and

  • Any study must recognize the role of local, state and federal authorities.