FirstNet board appoints longtime member to vice chair

(Air Force Photo / Paul Zadach)


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The First Responder Network Authority’s board announced a new vice chairman Friday, solidifying its leadership positions as it continues to oversee the first dedicated nationwide public safety communications network.

Sheriff Richard Stanek was named to the post by Chairman Edward Horowitz, effective immediately. Stanek will be stepping into the role previously held by Jeffrey Johnson, who resigned from the board in August.

The role won’t be unfamiliar, though, as Stanek has been on the board since 2014 — three years before FirstNet even awarded a contract to AT&T to build out the network. During that time, he’s served on the board’s public safety advocacy committee, working with law enforcement agencies on behalf of FirstNet. Stanek is sheriff of Hennepin County, Minnesota, and holds other positions in national organizations.

In a news release, Stanek called the role a “great honor.” Horowitz was appointed as chairman earlier this month by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to a two-year term, replacing Sue Swenson, who also departed in August.

The board still has six open spots to achieve a full representation of 15 members. Stanek, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, is vice president of the National Sheriffs’ Association and chairman of its Homeland Security Committee.  He’s also the vice president of homeland security for the Major County Sheriffs of America.

Stanek was in the news last year after a physical altercation with a former FBI agent at the National Sheriffs’ Association’s annual convention in Reno, Nevada. No charges were filed.

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