New York City would be an “ideal” location for an early FirstNet deployment, based on the police department’s technological advances and the existence of supporting physical infrastructure, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton told FirstNet board members this week.

Bratton made the statements during Tuesday’s FirstNet board meeting, which the New York police department (NYPD) hosted in its headquarters at One Police Plaza. FirstNet Chairman Sam Ginn said board members wanted to tour the NYPD facility, where many cutting-edge public-safety applications that FirstNet plans to support already are being used.

“We know that, at One Police Plaza, you’re innovating,” Ginn said during the meeting, which was webcast. “If we want to see what law enforcement is going to be, you come here.”

New York City has operated a real-time crime center for almost a decade and is establishing the Domain Awareness System that is designed to sort through information from multiple databases and provide officers with information relevant to the scene of an incident, according to Jessica Tisch, acting deputy commissioner of information and technology.

While such tools are useful to personnel conducting research at their desks, the potential benefits will be realized fully when officers in the field are able to access applications via handheld smart devices, Bratton said.

“Having the best technology without a public-safety broadband network, in some respects, is like having a bullet train with no tracks to ride on,” he said. “You can have a bullet train—the best technology in the world—but if it can’t get down the track, what good is it? In some respects, we’re outpacing ourselves, in that we’re developing so much. But we need a delivery system, and [FirstNet is] that delivery system.”

Two years ago, Congress established FirstNet and charged the organization with deploying a nationwide broadband network for first responders, but many questioned what public-safety applications would run over the network. Bratton pledged New York City’s support of FirstNet and noted that NYPD’s applications would be an excellent example of the capabilities that could become a reality with a dedicated broadband network.

“The capacity to use what you create is currently there,” Bratton said. “It’s not something that needs to be built. It is there. It’s waiting for you; it’s waiting with urgency for what you’re going to build.

“I believe New York City would certainly be ideal for the FirstNet initiative, and many other cities around the country also are moving very quickly to be in that type of position. The NYPD, with its technology-driven approach to law enforcement, and FirstNet is effectively a match made in heaven.”