MACo 2023 County Innovation Award Winners Champion Public Safety & Diversity

MACo has announced the recipients of the prestigious County Innovation Award.

The County Innovation Award was established to recognize superb and leading-edge county programs that improve the overall quality of life and service delivery for a county’s residents. The Honorable Ingrid Turner, Prince George’s County Circuit Court Associate Judge, MACo Past President, and former Prince George’s County Council Member, instituted this award during her term as MACo President in 2012. The award is now a collaboration of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance and MACo, with support from the Local Government Insurance Trust.

The County Innovation Award is issued to one urban county and one rural county each year. All nominees were impressive, addressing issues in their communities and serving the needs of residents in ways that were indeed “outside the box.” Details are below if you want to learn more about each nominated program.

MACo and the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance are pleased to announce our two award winners and nominees, as listed below.


Rural – Convey 9-1-1 -Frederick County

Frederick County’s 9-1-1 center has embraced a groundbreaking program with Convey 9-11, introducing vital enhancements to address community needs effectively. This initiative offers language interpretation for over 170 languages and dialects, responding to the diverse linguistic landscape of the county. Moreover, it ensures precise location tracking of mobile devices contacting 9-1-1, a critical feature in cases of lost individuals or emergency calls transferred from non-emergency lines. The program also introduces the ConveyConnect live interpretation service, initially available at the 9-1-1 center and set to extend to public safety staff in the field.

This transformative program adds significant value to county service delivery, improving the efficiency and inclusivity of 9-1-1 text and voice services during emergencies. Providing quicker and more accurate assistance contributes to a safer and more responsive emergency response system, ultimately enhancing the quality of life for residents and visitors in Frederick County.

Urban – Behavioral Health 911 Diversion – Baltimore City 

In June 2021, Baltimore City pioneered the Urban Behavioral Health 911 Diversion program, a transformative initiative diverting specific mental health-related 911 calls from law enforcement to experienced professionals through the 988 helpline. Partnering with Behavioral Health System Baltimore and Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc. (BCRI), the program is designed to match individuals with the most appropriate and available resources to reduce unnecessary police encounters in behavioral health crises.

This innovative approach reflects Baltimore City’s commitment to reshaping crisis responses, aligning with federal guidance, and evolving best practices. The internal working group ensures quality assurance, treating the pilot period as a “proof of concept.” Beyond refining diversion mechanics, the initiative offers invaluable insights into the city’s 911 call intake and dispatch system, gaining firsthand knowledge of the needs of callers experiencing behavioral health emergencies.



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