Allegany, Caroline Will Join Maryland FiRST Radio System

The Radio Control Board approves Allegany and Caroline as new members of the State’s 700 MHz public safety radio system.

Members of the Statewide Interoperability Radio Control Board approved two more counties to join the Maryland FiRST radio system as primary users.

Caroline County will soon join Eastern Shore counties of Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot on Maryland FiRST. Maryland FiRST is a statewide radio system for first responders that allows responders in different regions to communicate with each other. This so-called interoperability aids in regional response and coordination, avoiding communication hurdles such as those that hindered the nation’s response on 9-11.

Caroline County only anticipates adding relatively few additional users to the System and many of their radio calls are already re-broadcast through the Maryland FiRST System. Wayne Darrell, made the motion to approve Caroline’s request. Darrell is Emergency Services Director for Kent County, Maryland. All were in favor of granting the request.

Allegany County estimates adding a relatively large number of subscribers and radio calls per month to the System. Charles R. Summers made the motion to approve Allegany’s request to join Maryland FiRST. Summers is Deputy Director of Washington County’s Emergency Services Division. The Board voted all in favor of the request.

Major Hasenei, shared a willingness to accept Allegany’s request and continue the expansion of the radio system in the western Maryland region.  Major J. Ken Hasenei is Commander CIO in the Maryland State Police, State Interoperability Director, and Program Manager for Maryland FiRST. The Major has worked with county governments as he oversees the development of the Maryland FiRST system. Hasenei recently spoke at MACo’s Winter Conference on state and national trends in technology and interoperability, providing an update on Maryland FiRST, FirstNet, an initiative to connect emergency responders through a nationwide, high-speed, wireless, broadband network, body cameras and drones, the Regional Automated Pawn Information Database (RAPID) and Next Gen 911.

The Maryland FiRST system can serve as a primary radio system for small counties and local governments, and presents communications benefits for all Maryland entities involved in emergency response. Creation of a governance board for the Maryland FiRST System that included county representation was a MACo initiative in 2014. A bill creating the Board was passed into law that year.

Summers and Darrell are two of the four local government representatives on the radio control board. For more information, see our previous posts on Conduit StreetCounties Guide Public Safety Radio System Expansion, and From We to One: Radio Control Board Holds First Meeting.