Governor Will Sponsor Police Radio Bill

The Governor confirmed during MACo’s Winter Conference his support for establishing a statutory radio governance board for the statewide public safety radio system, Maryland FiRST. He pledged that the bill to create the oversight body would be part of his Administration’s package of legislative initiatives for the 2014 session.

The governance board will provide management and oversight of the system, which is amidst its eventual statewide rollout.  A representative governance board will provide broad based input into system maintenance from the collection of users, including county police, fire, and emergency management users.  Counties have seen the governance structure as a key toward an effective and efficient system.

MACo President Tom Duncan extolled the progress on the major issue, “Governor O’Malley’s leadership should help bring everyone together behind our public safety goals. Working together, we can do better and save money.”

During the installation of MACo’s 2014 officers at the conference, Governor O’Malley referenced Council Member Duncan’s many years of service in public safety as well as elect office, and agreed he was “looking forward to working with you” on the radio system effort.

Last year, Maryland’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (a group established via Executive Order, not statute) formally recommended that a radio governance board with membership from both State and local agencies be established to oversee the network.  MACo adopted Collaborative Radio Governance as a priority for the 2014 Legislative Session after the eastern shore counties of Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Kent brought the need for radio governance board to MACo’s attention.  Since MACo formally adopted its priorities this fall, county governments and the public safety community have offered overwhelming support for this initiative.

Counties look forward to working with the Governor’s Office on legislation to create Maryland’s Radio Governance Board this legislative session.

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