Governor Signs MACo’s Public Safety Radio Bill Into Law

The Governor signed MACo’s 2014 legislative initiative into law during the April 14 bill signings.  HB 308 / SB 338 will create a joint governance body for the Statewide Public Safety Radio System, MD FiRST.  The governance body will include five representatives of local governments that use the MD FiRST system.

radio bill signing
Governor O’Malley signs SB 338, establishing the Statewide Interoperability Radio Control Board.

The radio initiative led the Governor’s legislative agenda for the year and during the bill signing, he remarked on the importance of the legislation.  Creation of a statewide interoperable communications system for public safety was the Governor’s #1 Goal in Homeland Security.  Maryland FiRST is fulfilling that goal, with federal, state and local investment, coordination and partnership.

From Conduit Street coverage of MACo’s 2014 session initiatives, adopted as the year’s top session priorities:

Collaborative Public Safety Radio Systems – Maryland FiRST is a statewide radio communication system which will improve police, fire, and emergency management communications for our first responders, allowing them to more effectively and efficiently respond to emergency situations within certain regions and across county lines. Counties who choose to participate in this statewide system will realize seamless “interoperability” and lower infrastructure, equipment, and maintenance costs through shared resources. Shared State and county efforts require a commitment from all levels of government and a structure to ensure the operational needs of all users are considered. The creation of a governance board with committed representatives of the State and county partners will protect everyone’s interests and provide county users with a role in the system’s oversight and management, including infrastructure sharing coordination, network prioritization, standardized operations, and financial decisions.

MACo attended the signing with Ray Lehr, the Statewide Interoperability Director, Clay Stamp, Talbot County Manager and Director of Emergency Services, Maryland Secretary of State Police Marcus Brown, and representatives of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association.

radio photo
Statewide Interoperability Director Ray Lehr presents a radio to Governor O’Malley. Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor.

For more information, see our previous posts, Public Safety Radio Bill Passed by Both Houses, Public Safety Radio Bill On Way to Passage, House Committees Issue Favorable Report on Public Safety Radio Bill, Strong Support for MACo Public Safety Radio Bill.