RELEASE: Gottheimer Announces $2.8 Million Federal Investment Clawed Back from Washington for West Milford First Responders

Acquiring Infrastructure for State-of-the-Art Emergency Communications System. New Federal Investment Will Improve Public Safety, Lower Tax Burden on Families.

WEST MILFORD, NJ — Today, January 18, 2023, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and local elected officials are announcing a new $2.8 million federal investment clawed back from Washington to West Milford to purchase infrastructure for a state-of-the-art emergency communications system. This new system will help first responders communicate quickly and easily — helping keep families and first responders safe. This federal investment will be used to replace the existing outdated infrastructure and it is the first step in implementing a new comprehensive, state-of-the-art emergency communications radio system.

The current radio communications system in West Milford is in dire need of an upgrade and tends to have dead zones in coverage — putting at risk the safety of more than 26,000 residents and first responders.

New $2.8 million federal investment clawed back from Washington to West Milford first responders includes:

  • Replacing all antennas and implementing the infrastructure for a new state-of-the-art emergency communications system to allow first responders to communicate more efficiently.
  • Enabling West Milford first responders to be on the same system as New Jersey State Police for easy and seamless communication.
  • Improving communication between West Milford first responders and neighboring municipalities that share emergency services through mutual aid.
  • Helping make life more affordable for West Milford residents because it lifts the cost of necessary upgrades off town budgets, and helps lower local property taxes.

“Communication and speed are key during an emergency, and our technological systems need to be updated to serve West Milford families. Without the infrastructure for a state-of-the-art emergency system for first responders to quickly and easily communicate, our families’ lives would be put at risk. This new bipartisan investment is critical to boosting the response capabilities of our public safety agencies in West Milford,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus and the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “What’s great about these investments in our community, is that it helps protect us and it helps our communities save real local and property tax dollars, because it’s items that they need but don’t have to pay for out of their local budgets, or bond for. That directly saves taxpayers money.”

Earlier this week, Gottheimer was in Sussex County to announce a separate federal investment clawed back from Washington to Newton, Sparta, Hardyston, and Andover to purchase next-generation 9-1-1 dispatch technology. This technology will ensure that emergency response agencies can talk to callers and first responders quickly and easily — helping keep more than 65,000 Sussex County residents and first responders safe.

Last Congress, Gottheimer’s bipartisan, bicameral Invest to Protect Act — to make critical, targeted investments in local law enforcement — passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. 153 Republicans and 207 Democrats voted for Gottheimer’s bill. The Invest to Protect Act will ensure that local departments have what they need to recruit and retain the finest officers, to provide necessary training, and to invest in mental health resources for officers.

Gottheimer’s work to support North Jersey’s first responders and their families also includes the following:

  • Original cosponsor of the bipartisan Firefighter Cancer Registry Act to collect firefighter health and occupational information to determine cancer incidence and trends among firefighters, the Michael Lecik Military Firefighters Protection Act to provide veteran firefighters with the fair compensation, health care, and retirement benefits they’ve earned, and the Never Forget the Heroes Act — signed into law to permanently authorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
  • Fought for the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act to provide firefighters, police officers, and EMS the ability to form and join a labor union, and the Protecting America’s First Responders Act, which was signed into law, to expand disability and death benefits for first responders. 
  • Cosponsored bipartisan legislation that passed Congress and was signed into law to reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program
  • Gottheimer voted for the Thin Blue Line Act.
  • Since 2016, Gottheimer has helped claw back millions to the Fifth District in Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) for life-saving firefighting equipment, in Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants, Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) 1033 grants, Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), and other resources to support our communities and local law enforcement and first responders.
  • Gottheimer helped claw a $10 million federal investment back from Washington to New Jersey firefighters through the American Rescue Plan Firefighter Grant Program to provide investments for local and regional fire departments in New Jersey to purchase equipment including oxygen packs, PPE, protective clothing and turnout gear, and cleaning and sanitizing equipment.

 

###