Questions About #NG9-1-1? MACo Has You Covered

Questions about NG9-1-1 and what it means for county governments? The MACo NG9-1-1 White Paper has you covered.

The Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) Across Maryland, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative that will help Maryland prepare for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 system that our residents expect and deserve, held its first meeting, September 20, 2018, in the Joint Hearing Room in Annapolis.

In its 2018 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB 634/SB 285, a MACo Legislative Initiative to establish Commission to Advance NG9-1-1 Across Maryland. The Governor signed the bill into law on April 24, 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 NG9-1-1 technology and service across Maryland, and estimated costs required to effect this priority outcome.

Because county governments are at the heart of 9-1-1 service delivery, MACo prepared and submitted to the Commission a Next Generation 9-1-1 White Paper. MACo hopes to continue to serve as a resource for additional information from county governments throughout the Commission’s deliberations.

This report is intended as an informational document on Maryland’s 9-1-1 structure and anticipated needs as the State moves to NG9-1-1 service. MACo has gathered this information about Maryland’s county public safety answering points from county governments and other sources. MACo submits this collection of data toward the Commission’s exploration of NG9-1-1 and hopes that these are helpful ingredients for the Commission’s future findings.

Several years ago, Ross Coates, the Manager of Harford County’s Emergency Services Communications Center, approached MACo and the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers about creating a statewide group of county PSAP Directors. The Emergency Communications Committee of the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers is now a vibrant and active association that gives an opportunity for PSAP Directors to share information, lessons learned, and to provide information and support on advocacy topics in emergency communications to MACo’s Legislative Committee and Policy Team.

The Emergency Communications Committee, under the leadership of Ross Coates, has been a primary and essential resource for this report.

MACo’s Legislative Committee voted at their September 12, 2018 meeting to adopt the Association’s four priorities for the 2019 Session. Updating state laws, and the 9-1-1 financing system, to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the transition to NG9-1-1, will again be a top priority for county governments.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

Useful Links

MACo NG9-1-1 White Paper

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Commission to Advance #NG9-1-1 Set to Convene

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Hogan Signs MACo’s 9-1-1 Initiative Bill

Workgroup to Consider Western Maryland Autonomous Tech Center

Governor Larry Hogan today announced a workgroup to consider the recommendations of a recent feasibility study on the development of a Western Maryland Autonomous Technology Center.

The study considered incorporating all types of autonomous technology, from drones to automated vehicles, as focal points of the training center.

According to the Cumberland Times-News:

As part of the feasibility study, the Maryland Transportation Institute at the University of Maryland evaluated the technical, economic and regulatory feasibility of a potential training center in Western Maryland. The study included identifying industry interest, analyzing market potential, selecting technology areas and determining facility needs.

The new work group will make recommendations based on the initial findings of the feasibility study, such as determining a potential site location, identifying possible funding sources and refining design and cost estimates for construction. The work group will also identify partnership opportunities and establish specific needs based on feedback from the entities that would use the facility.

The workgroup will also collaborate with local community colleges to develop workforce training programs and build relationships with local businesses.

Read the full article for more information.

Got Grants? Learn How to Secure Grants at the Gov’s Grant Conference

hbjThe 14th annual Governor’s Grant Conference is scheduled for Monday, October 29 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. The Event is sponsored by eCivis, Maryland Nonprofits, and SB & Company.

WHAT?

The Governor’s Grant Conference is held each year to provide grant management training and interaction with top federal, state, and private grant makers. Registration includes a hot lunch, free parking, and Continuing Professional Education Credits.

WHO?

This event applies to anyone applying for federal, state or private grants.

WHEN?

The conference will be held on Monday, October 29, 2018, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Early Bird rate of $99 until September 21 at 11:59 pm.

WHERE?

The College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center is hosting this year’s conference.

College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
3501 University Blvd.
East, College Park, MD 20783

WHAT NOW?

Register Button

Diversity Dimensions III Hosted by the BaltCo Commission for Women

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The Baltimore County Commission for Women is presenting its third installment of Diversity Dimensions at the public library October 4. 

WHAT:

This FREE interactive panel discussion will feature three women who have persevered through barriers of diversity and equality. They will share their experiences and answer questions from the public.

WHO:

The guest panelists:

Jennifer Aubert-Utz Vicki Ballou-Watts Danette Zaghari-Mask
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Assistant Chief,
Baltimore County Fire Department
Judge,
Baltimore County 3rd Circut Court
Nonprofit and Compliance Attorney

WHEN:

The event takes place Thursday, October 4, 2018.

The pre-registration deadline is September 30, 2018.

WHERE:

Diversity Dimensions III will be held at the Baltimore County Public Library.

Baltimore County Public Library
9685 Honeygo Blvd
Perry Hall, MD 21228

WHAT NOW?:

Learn more about Diversity Dimensions III.

For more information contact:
Nancy Surosky
410.887.2450
women@baltimorecountymd.gov

Register Button

Intel Advisory: Cyber Threat Actors Expected to Leverage Major Storms for Fraud

The Center for Internet Security (CIS), a MACo Partner, warns that malicious actors may leverage public interest during natural disasters to conduct financial fraud and disseminate malware.

Malicious actors leverage public interest during natural disasters and other high profile events to conduct financial fraud and disseminate malware – that according to The Center for Internet Security (CIS), a MACo Corporate Partner. The landfalls and impending landfalls of Hurricanes Florence, Isaac, and Helene, Tropical Storm Olivia, and Typhoon Mangkhut will highly likely propel the emergence of new and recycled scams involving financial fraud and malware.

According to CIS:

Malicious actors are notorious for posting links to fake charities and fraudulent websites that solicit donations for victims of natural disasters or deliver malware. The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) previously observed similar scams and malware dissemination campaigns in response to high profile events including the Boston Marathon bombing, Hurricane Harvey, and the Tennessee wildfires. It is highly likely that more scams and malware will follow over the course of the recovery period, so Internet users need to exercise caution before opening related emails, clicking links, visiting websites, or making donations to relief efforts.

From September 6-11, 2018, the MS-ISAC observed an increase in registered domains likely related to Hurricane Florence. The most recently registered domains include the words, “claims,” “compensation,” “lawyers,” “relief,” and “funds,” which could indicate the domains use in possible scams or other malicious activity, so they should be viewed with caution. It is likely that these domain registrations will continue, especially after Hurricane Florence makes landfall. We believe that these domain registrations will also likely occur for the other storms.

It is highly likely that malicious actors will also capitalize on this disaster to send phishing emails with links to malicious websites advertising relevant information, pictures, and videos, but containing phishing web pages or malware. Other phishing emails are highly likely to contain links to, or attachments with, embedded malware. Victims who click on links or open malicious attachments risk compromising their computer.

User Recommendations

The MS-ISAC recommends that users adhere to the following guidelines when reacting to high profile events, including news associated with the disasters and solicitations for donations:

  • Users should exercise extreme caution when responding to individual pleas for financial assistance such as those posted on social media, crowdfunding websites, or in an email, even if it appears to originate from a trusted source. When making donations, users should consult the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information website for guidance or the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website.
  • Be cautious of emails or websites that claim to provide information, pictures, and videos.
  • Do not open unsolicited (spam) emails or click on the links or attachments in those emails.
  • Never reveal personal or financial information in an email or to an untrusted website.
  • Do not go to an untrusted or unfamiliar website to view the event or information regarding it.
  • Malicious websites often imitate a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs .org) so ensure the link goes to the correct website.

Technical Recommendations

The MS-ISAC recommends that technical administrators adhere to the following guidelines when reacting to high profile events, including news associated with any of these disasters, and solicitations for donations:

  • Issue warnings to users about potential scams, implement filters on emails, block suspicious IP addresses and domains at your firewall and on your web server proxy, and flag emails from external sources with a warning banner
  • Use antivirus programs on clients and servers, with automatic updates of signatures and software.
  • Apply appropriate patches and updates immediately after appropriate testing.

More information regarding emergency preparedness for cyber infrastructure is available in the associated MS-ISAC Security Primer.

MACo members have a great resource available to them to help address this and other cybersecurity related issues: the Center for Internet Security (CIS). Through MACo’s partnership with CIS, members have access to a number of cost-effective resources to improve their employees’ security awareness, including industry-leading training programs from the SANS Institute, as well as social engineering and phishing exercises, and expert-led training seminars.

Learn more about CIS benefits for MACo members.

The Mottled Landscape of Unemployment

A dataset shows 51% of counties with unemployment rates below the national average in 2017, while individual rates portray the varied experience of labor successes.

The National Association of Counties County Explorer released a analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics from 2017. They found that on average, county unemployment rates were below the national unemployment rate.

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2017 labor statistics showing varying rates of unemployment across America’s counties.

Much reporting on the recovery from the Recession has described how pockets of the country have recovered more quickly than others – a picture often hidden by national statistics. County-level data helps to reveal economic realities that relate more closely to the experiences of many Americans.

The national average unemployment for 2017 was 4.4%.

For Maryland, the picture is varied.

  • Lower 2017 Unemployment Than the National Average (1.6% – 4.0%)
    • Howard, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Calvert, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Charles, Montgomery, Frederick, Carroll, Harford.
  • 2017 Unemployment Near the National Average (4.0% – 4.7%)
    • Washington, Baltimore County, Kent, Caroline, Prince George’s.
  • Greater 2017 Unemployment Than the National Average (4.7%-19.1%)
    • Garrett, Wicomico, Cecil, Allegany, Baltimore City, Dorchester, Worcester and Somerset counties.

Allegany, Baltimore City, Dorchester, Worcester and Somerset counties had the highest unemployment levels in the State in 2017, 5.7% or higher, according to the data.

The statistics use the following definitions (abridged):
  • Unemployment Rate: Number of persons unemployed as a percent of the labor force.
  • Population: All persons in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older classified as either employed or unemployed.
  • Number Employed: Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job. Someone is considered employed if they:
    • did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or
    • had jobs from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.
  • Number Unemployed: Included are all persons who had no employment, and had made specific efforts to find employment.

For more information, visit NACo’s County Explorer.

Cecil Breaks Ground on Elkton West Sanitary Sewer Project

Photo courtesy of Cecil County Government

Cecil County Executive Alan McCarthy, County Administrator Al Wein, along with Council Vice President Dan Schneckenburger and Councilman Bob Meffley, Director of Public Works Scott Flanigan, and members of the project team took part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Elkton West Sanitary Sewer Subdistrict Tuesday afternoon.

According to a press release:

The Marley Road Sewer Extension, slated for completion in late February 2019, is the first phase of construction.The project will extend gravity sewer from an existing tie-in location located at the entrance of AUI Power along the south side of Route 40 approximately 1000-ft. east of the Marley Road intersection. Gravity sewer will also be extended approximately 700-ft. up Marley Road north of Route 40.

This phase of the project will provide a connection location for a future sewer force main associated with phase two of the Elkton West project. There are currently three phases of construction planned along the Route 40 corridor which will result in County owned and operated sanitary sewer service from Route 279 to Marley Road upon completion.

“This is a very exciting day and I would like to express my thanks to the council members who have helped make this happen,” expressed County Executive Alan McCarthy. “This is 50 years in the making and we want to get it done!”

Read the full press release for more information.

Baltimore City Honors Former Councilman

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Former Baltimore City Councilman Kenneth Harris, whose life was tragically cut short when he was murdered ten years ago, was honored Tuesday by Mayor Catherine Pugh and members of the City Council.

The Kenneth N. Harris Senior Community Center will be a place where young people can learn, play, and achieve.

According to WMAR:

Tuesday afternoon, everyone from Mayor Catherine Pugh and current city council members to his family took pride in dedicating the facility to him.

“I know he’s happy and smiling down right now from heaven,” said Harris’ son, Kenneth Harris Jr.

“This is just a display of our love and care for an individual who loved and cared for his city,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Harris was murdered 10 years ago during a robbery in Northeast Baltimore outside of a jazz club. The men responsible are in prison, but that’s not what defines the former councilman.

“Seeing the sign with my father, seeing the impact he had on this community and on myself included, it’s just so emotional but very happy,” Harris said.

The center will host a head start program facilitated by the YMCA and a program to help kids with homework, social skills, and aftercare.

Harris Sr. grew up in west Baltimore and served north and northeast Baltimore as a city councilman for eight years.

Read the full article for more information.

Allegany Establishes Public Transportation Task Force

The group, approved by the Allegany County Board of Commissioners, is tasked with studying public transit systems within the region. 

As reported by The Cumberland Times-News Allegany’s transportation task force was first proposed in August and already has a majority of the members appointed:

The first 14 members appointed to the board include representatives from local businesses, transportation providers, health care, social services and education.

However, [County Administrator Brandon] Butler said he would like to see at least two members who ride the local public transit system.

Read The Cumberland Times-News for more information.

Better Police Recruits Through Boot Camp? Baltimore City Tests New Programs

Boot camp is just one of the ways Baltimore City is turning to innovative programs to help improve recruitment of police officers.

An article in The Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh has partnered with “Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded ‘Innovation Team'” to boost recruitment for the city’s police force. One of the first issues the group has tackled is helping recruits train to pass the fitness test through boot camp classes that meet three times a week:

The fitness requirement is a “huge barrier” for many recruits, said Major Brian Hance, who heads the department’s recruitment section. In 2017, 20 percent of applicants failed the fitness test on their first try, including 55 percent of women, he said.

Rather than turn away candidates who can’t pass the fitness test, “we want to work with them,” Hance said. “There’s a lot of good people out here.”

The Sun article notes the boot camp has shown promising returns with half of the participants passing the fitness test — all of which were women. The team has also launched an online application which has generated a jump in the number of applications the department has received. These initiatives are part of broader efforts by the Mayor’s office to boost attraction and retention of police officers as the department has been beset by vacancies and overtime hours officers must work.

To learn more read:

Baltimore police fitness ‘boot camp’ among new efforts to boost recruitment (The Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore City Looking to Diversify Police Force (Conduit Street)