Prince George’s County is the first jurisdiction in Maryland and second in the National Capital Region to launch a Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system — which bolsters public safety by improving emergency services for the public, 9-1-1 professionals, and first responders.
NG911 enhances emergency communications by delivering a faster, more resilient system that enables the public to share richer, more detailed data — such as videos, images, and texts — with 9-1-1 call centers. It also allows for the seamless transfer of emergency calls — including accompanying data — during crisis-driven call overflows, and can speed up emergency response times by pinpointing the location of wireless callers.
“Prince George’s County’s 9-1-1 call center is pleased to take a leadership role in Maryland’s implementation of NG911. This new advanced technology will provide greater accuracy in 9-1-1 call routing and help us provide the best services to Prince George’s County’s residents, visitors, and public safety responders,” said Deputy Director of Public Safety Communications, Charlynn Flaherty.
According to a County press release:
This transition is a part of a multi-year partnership with Motorola Solutions that began with the implementation of an advanced radio communication system, a new Next Generation ready 9-1-1 call center, and a public safety complex.
“The 9-1-1 call center’s transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 is a huge accomplishment for public safety in Prince George’s County,” said Interim Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety and Homeland Security, Barry L. Stanton. “This system not only enhances the services that we are able to provide our residents when they call us for assistance, but also greatly assists all of our public safety personnel as they work to keep our communities safe and healthy.”
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Commission to Advance NG911 across Maryland was a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative to update state laws and the 9-1-1 financing system to provide the flexibility and necessary resources to deploy a statewide NG911 system. In 2019, the General Assembly passed landmark legislation to update state laws and the 9-1-1 financing system to ensure a smooth and equitable transition to NG911.
This year, the General Assembly passed omnibus legislation to add necessary expertise to the Maryland 9-1-1 Board by adding additional representation, including a county finance professional, county 9-1-1 specialists, an expert from the cybersecurity industry, and a member to represent persons with disabilities. The bill also requires telecommunications providers to promptly notify 9-1-1 centers in the event of an outage necessary to implement alternative communications methods and provide proper public notice.
MACo also successfully supported legislation to designate the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) as a Cabinet-level agency and transfer the 9-1-1 Board from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to MEMA.
The Commission, chaired by Senator Cheryl Kagan, includes 9-1-1 directors, technology and telecommunications industry representatives, cybersecurity professionals, a bipartisan group of legislators, and other stakeholders. As Maryland accelerates its move toward NG911, the Commission in December will put forth its final set of recommendations to assure the equitable delivery of these services across the state, and ensure that policies and protocols are consistent with evolving technology and operational needs.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.