Today’s Radios Are Not Just ‘Dead Sticks’

A hands-on demonstration of today’s mobile command and radio technologies reveals how emergency managers use rapid regional interoperable communications to support remote operations.

Delegate Jackson describes how public safety as a priority transcends party lines.

Mobile 9-1-1 and interoperable radios allow effective and reliable radio calls from any location, turning what were once ‘dead sticks’ outside a certain range, into live communications devices.

Maryland State Delegate Michael Jackson moderated the session delvinng into this technology at MACo’s Tech Expo this week.

Delegate Jackson sits on House Appropriations Committee, Public Safety & Administration Subcommittee. He served as Sheriff for Prince George’s County from 2002 to 2010 and is currently the Special Assistant for Homeland Security to the Prince George’s County Executive. The Delegate shared insights from over the course of his career and the importance of prioritizing public safety, calling attention to the bi-partisan value of these efforts.

When deployed to Katrina, the Anne Arundel County Mobile Command Unit routed radio calls through Annapolis.

Dick Briggs, Team Leader, Anne Arundel County Mobile Communication & Command walked attendees through a mobile command unit and see how emergency managers use its features to deploy their responders in coordination with the home county’s incident commander. The command unit includes 24 different radios, WIFI and other communications features. Two weeks after the county received delivery of the vehicle, it was deployed to Katrina for 30 days. Briggs, a former NSA employee, has continued to update its communications capacities throughout its use.

Thanks to Zamerski’s work, today’s Maryland Joint Operations Center can support field communications with a mobile set-up.

Gary Zamerski, Manager, Maryland Joint Operations Center and Jack Markey, Director, Division of Emergency Management, Frederick County demonstrated how interoperable radios and mobile 9-1-1 communications function.

Zamerski, who has been with the Maryland Joint Operations Center for 13 years, described how the Center is able to stand up operations in the field or at other remote facilities. He demonstrated the mobile set-up with radio calls on the Maryland FiRST System to:

  • Talbot County 9-1-1,
  • Harford County 9-1-1,
  • Worcester County Emergency Management,
  • Anne Arundel Mobile Command Truck 1
  • Maryland Emergency Management Agency Headquarters and
  • The National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia
Frederick County Emergency Manager Jack Markey demonstrates remote 9-1-1 call processing.

Markey, a Next Generation 9-1-1 advocate among county emergency managers, demonstrated the ability to process calls into the Frederick County public safety answering point from his mobile set-up in the Ocean City Convention Center. On a monitor, Markey displayed incoming calls and mapping.

Director Markey is the Chair of the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers’ Next Generation Workgroup.

The next era of police radios may integrate body-worn cameras and other technologies.

Jerry Napolitano, ‎Principal Solutions Architect, Motorola demonstrated new body-worn police radios with cameras.

For more information, see Napolitano’s power point presentation.