Harlin McEwen is a tireless advocate for a national broadband public safety network. He also happens to be the leading authority on the subject as the elected chairman of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corp. - the nonprofit selected by the FCC to guide construction of such a network.

Wherever you find the nation's leaders discussing nationwide public safety wireless interoperability, you're likely to find McEwen at the forefront of those talks.

For example, McEwen recently addressed Congress (in spoken testimony and through a white paper) about what nationwide interoperable wireless communications could mean for public safety agencies. He also tackled growing misconceptions on the topic and the costs associated with building such a network.

In addition, McEwen chairs the Communications and Technology Committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which is no surprise given his background in law enforcement and proclivity for technology.

McEwen began his career as a police officer in Waverly, N.Y., in 1957 and served in that capacity until 1972, when he became chief of police in Cayuga Heights, N.Y. McEwen had his hand in technology way back in 1969 when he served as coordinator of the Tompkins County, N.Y., Mobile Radio District and supervised the installation of a countywide law enforcement radio system.

He served as chief of police for Ithaca, N.Y., from 1988 to 1996, until he was sworn in as deputy assistant director of the FBI. He retired from the FBI in 2000 but continues to serve the public safety community full-time.

Jim McKay  |  Associate editor