Former Gainesville Fire Chief honored for leadership with 2020 National Public Safety award

Former City of Gainesville Fire Chief Jeffrey Lane has been named the 2020 recipient of the Harlin R. McEwen Public Safety Broadband Communications Award by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), the nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety. The national award recognizes a leader who has contributed to the advancement of broadband communications used in daily public safety operations and responses to incidents and emergencies.

Former City of Gainesville Fire Chief Jeffrey Lane

Lane was honored for his leadership in the expansion of wireless broadband needs for emergency services in Gainesville, and for his contributions to advancing broadband communications nationwide for public safety personnel. The FirstNet Authority, an independent entity within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced the award during its quarterly board meeting this week.

“I am extremely honored,” said Lane. “Public safety personnel deserve the very best tools and capabilities available to help them serve and protect their communities. Their stories and dedicated service inspire me to advocate for the best broadband communication tools that keep them safe and secure.”

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In October 2019 under Lane’s direction, the City adopted FirstNet, the first nationwide public safety broadband network and its wireless platform.

“Chief Lane is most deserving of this award. Throughout his career, he has witnessed how communicating quickly and effectively saves lives,” said Gainesville City Manager Lee Feldman. “He was instrumental in deploying a platform that connects all first responders in emergencies, not only within GFR and across City departments, but among various local, state and federal agencies,” he said.

Lane retired as Gainesville Fire Rescue fire chief in September after 30 years of dedicated service to Gainesville neighbors. 

“We thank Chief Lane for his hard work and congratulate him on his recent retirement, even though we know that he will continue to keep working and advocating for FirstNet, not just within Gainesville but throughout the whole nation,” said FirstNet Authority Board Vice Chair Richard Carrizzo. 

The FirstNet Authority established the award in 2017 to recognize the spirit of service, commitment, and dedication of the nation’s first responders. It’s named after retired chief Harlin McEwen, a driving force in the establishment of FirstNet, and founding chair of its Public Safety Advisory Committee. 

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