Houghton County Sheriff first in UP to transform first responder communications with FirstNet

Published: Jun. 15, 2018 at 12:17 PM EDT
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The Houghton County Sheriff’s Office is giving deputies a much-needed technology upgrade with FirstNet – a groundbreaking communications platform. This move lets the office take advantage of the early benefits of FirstNet, and it sets us up for continued success as the solution evolves. The sheriff's office want to lead in technology, so they can better serve the people of Houghton County.

FirstNet is the country’s first nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to first responders – available when and where it's needed Built with AT&T, in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, it gives communications capabilities a major boost, providing a reliable, highly secure connection to the critical information we need. Every day. And in every emergency.

By subscribing to FirstNet, it can help our deputies stay connected to the critical information they need. And it will help ensure they can easily and quickly communicate with one another during everyday situations, big events or emergencies.

“Communications are our first line of defense, for ourselves and the residents we serve,” said Houghton County Sheriff Brian J. McLean. “A robust and reliable connection is vital to our operational success. FirstNet gives us that. Not only that, it allows us to use our devices to employ broadband technology for the benefit of public safety.”

The decision to join FirstNet was based on the following 3 critical factors:

• Groundbreaking Technology – FirstNet is the only platform that gives first responders First Priority, with always-on priority and preemption. That means FirstNet primary users and, as applicable, extended primary users, will have access to the connection they need – even when the network is congested. This will help keep the deputies and responders and those we serve safe and secure. They look forward to taking advantage of additional mission-critical capabilities as the technology advances.

• Coverage, Capacity and Control – As the FirstNet Band 14 build takes place, first responder subscribers will have access to increased coverage and capacity. This will help them support emergencies in all areas of the state – from rural to urban. Plus, with FirstNet’s local control capability,They're able to allocate communications resources in near real time to support our first responders who need them most. With FirstNet, the ball is in their court.

• System Reliability – FirstNet is the only system purpose-built to the high standards of public safety based on an understanding of their needs. Plus, AT&T will be held accountable by the First Responder Network Authority to deliver on their commitment to design and build a solution that meets their needs for years to come.

When a major event occurs, it’s important to share data with other responders. As more agencies join FirstNet, it will drive a greater level of interoperability. This will help departments communicate with ease across agencies, jurisdictions and even state lines.

“We took action when first responders said they needed better tools to help keep their communities – and themselves – out of harm’s way. FirstNet will help first responders in Houghton County and across the country perform at the highest levels,” said David Lewis, president, AT&T Michigan. “We’re honored to play a part in that transformation and applaud the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office for helping to lead the way.”

“FirstNet is the exclusive communications platform built with AT&T for public safety, inspired by public safety – there is no substitution for this network that they fought for,” said First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth. “We look forward to supporting the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office use of FirstNet, making sure it delivers what they need, when they need it.”

Since Governor Snyder’s decision to opt into FirstNet last August, they’ve had a lot of great support in the transition to FirstNet. Plus, working with AT&T, subscribing to FirstNet was seamless. Deputies are now equipped with the game-changing technology.

To learn more about the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office, go to To learn more about FirstNet, go to or contact Ken Losure at 616-430-4183, or