Last week, the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) met at the Program Management Office of the Department of Information Technology in Catonsville. The Committee meets at least twice year. Members include representatives of each region in the state, fire and police professionals, secretaries and directors of Maryland’s public safety agencies and legislators.
During the meeting last week, the SIEC discussed the importance of statewide interoperability and the successes that the Maryland FiRST radio system has already brought to its users. Kent County, the first local user on the system reports “excellent” functionality. Chip Jewell, Director of Frederick County’s Department of Emergency communications shared how interoperable communications were essential in conducting October’s National Fallen Firefighters Memorial event in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Andy Lauland, the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor, described a recent Maryland FiRST success story from the Maryland Capitol Police.
Ray Lehr, the State’s Interoperability Director made a presentation on the progress of the system’s construction, with a timeline for completing southern, central, and western Maryland’s coverage over the next few years. Director Lehr shared how the state had established functional interoperability with St. Mary’s County’s new upgraded system and how on a recent trip to Garrett County he received an enthusiast response to the system’s potential and interest in an advanced deployment of Maryland FiRST in the western region.
Director Lehr then spoke about the need for a radio governance board for the system’s management, describing a structure that would include representation of all users in the system. Clay Stamp, Director of Emergency Services in Talbot County spoke about MACo’s selection of establishing a representative governance body as one of its top initiatives for the 2014 legislative session. As the meeting drew to a close, State Delegate Adrienne Jones shared her thoughts on the work of the group and the importance of MACo’s support for the governance initiative.
MACo continues to work with Director Lehr and other partners to advance our governance initiative and we will continue to provide information on the work of the SIEC and its support group, the Practitioners Steering Committee, on Conduit Street. For past coverage, see Practitioner Steering Committee Discusses Maryland FiRST.