Counties Gather Answers for the Call for Next Generation 9-1-1 Service

County budget and public safety representatives assemble this week to determine data and information to support the work of the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland, which will report in December.

MACo called a work group this week of County Public Safety Answering Point Directors, Emergency Services Directors, and County Budget and Procurement experts and a Public Safety Communications Specialist to begin assembling information to support the work of the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland. The Commission will be appointed this year and it first report will be due in December, 2018.

The Commission’s December report must cover seven subjects, the first of which, is the needs, both capital and operating, to bring efficient and effective Next Generation 9–1–1 technology and service across Maryland, and estimated costs required to effect this priority outcome. This first item was the subject of discussion yesterday.

The group identified existing information on capital and operating needs, and delved into the difficult topic of identifying future personnel needs that will be associated with a transition to new technology, and with providing enhanced services to the public.

The ability of Emergency Communications Specialists to access more accurate call location information more quickly, and to employ new data gathering techniques, such as receiving text and video data from those who contact 9-1-1 is the aim of Counties governments who are eager and committed to making Maryland a leader in implementation of Next Generation.

Steve Souder, a nationally recognized authority on 9-1-1, participated in the meeting of counties this week. Souder is representative of the Association of Public–Safety Communications Officials International Mid–Eastern Chapter, member of Maryland’s Emergency Number Systems Board, and the former Public Safety Communications Director of Fairfax, Virginia. According to Souder, the establishment of the statewide Commission will place Maryland ahead of other States in its work toward a coordinated transition of all counties to Next Generation 9-1-1.