Calling for Back-up

The General Assembly’s budget includes $15 million in funding for the State’s public safety communications system, but $9 million of that total will need special approval from the Governor to be appropriated.

The final budget passed by the General Assembly includes $15 million in funding for the State’s public safety communications system, a radio system for police and first responders called Maryland FiRST. The full funding is not assured, however.

The bulk of the funding, $9,190,000 was allocated by the General Assembly by re-directing dollars that the Governor had intended for the State’s “Rainy Day” Reserve fund. As such, the Governor must now approve this transfer, along with many other items that together total almost $80 million. For more information, see Several County Priorities Left Teetering in The Balance Beam of Maryland’s Budget.

MACo has advocated the value of Maryland FiRST, the statewide interoperable public safety radio system. Allegany and Garrett counties are in the process of joining the Maryland FiRST police radio system and the radio system already serves as the primary network for Kent, Caroline, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot counties. The state aims to complete the western region of the system next, and then move to southern-central Maryland.

The system’s capacity for statewide interoperability improved the State’s response to major emergencies and events, from civil unrest in Baltimore City to emergency medical assistance at the Bay Bridge Run.

For more information, see our previous posts, Allegany, Caroline Will Join Maryland FiRST Radio System, and Counties Guide Public Safety Radio System Expansion.


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