In testimony this week on behalf of the National League of Cities, Rob Drake, mayor of Portland suburb Beaverton, Ore., said the federal government should “allow more flexibility” in the use of federal public-safety funds so that local municipalities can upgrade their first responder communications systems and improve training.

Drake also called for the federal government to provide funding directly to local governments for homeland security and emergency preparedness and response initiatives, and to increase the visibility of the Department of Homeland Security’s Project SAFECOM—which oversees the development of interoperable communications between public-safety entities nationwide—“because interoperable communications influences hometown security directly.”