After several months of development, a public site with information on the State’s public safety communications interoperability program is now available.
Public safety communications interoperability – the capacity for fire, police, and other first responders to maintain radio connectivity throughout an emergency event – has been a top priority for state and local governments since the tragedy of 9-11 exposed interoperability issues with current systems.
In Maryland, county governments have advocated for improved statewide interoperability, and have offered local resources to the State to help connect disparate systems statewide. In 2014, statewide interoperability was a top MACo priority, and MACo advocated for legislation that ultimately created the State’s Radio Control Board to oversee the development of a 700MHz radio system (Maryland FiRST) that will improve interoperability.
Now, the Radio Control Board’s work, and that of its sister governance groups, will be more accessible as a new website will provide provide one centralized site for interoperability-related information in Maryland for public safety.
The site will eventually include:
- Maryland FiRST Statewide Radio project status and updates
- Policies and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) as they relate to the use of the Maryland FiRST radio system
- Statewide Communications Unit SOP
- The Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan
- statewide SOPs approved by the Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (such as our MOU’s with the FCC on Federal Interop Channel usage and FCC related issues) or
- MOUs for radio or channel use
As described by Major Ken Hasenei of the Maryland State Police,
“Along with revising and overhauling our SCIP [Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan] last year, solidifying our governance structures, and meeting regularly to approve and discuss statewide interoperability issues and progress, this site is another major accomplishment in providing structure and effective communications and coordination within Maryland and the other states.”
For more information, see the Interoperability Website.