MCP Insights

Here Are The Biggest Trends Impacting Public Safety Right Now

Posted on March 3, 2021 by Glenn Bischoff

We surveyed MCP’s subject-matter experts earlier this year on the biggest trends impacting public safety right now, and asked for their insights on what they believe will happen in the near future. Here is what they said:

From Glenn Angstadt, client manager:

Enhanced reliance by public safety on IT expertise

Mission-critical communications systems will continue their migrations to computer-based platforms. This will exacerbate concerns for public safety agencies regarding continuity of operations, disaster recovery and cybersecurity. Consequently, such organizations will need to develop strong partnerships with information technology (IT) subject-matter experts, both internally and externally.  Gone are the days when a tech-savvy person in the agency can be the sole expert, or IT personnel can fail to understand the critical 24 x 7 nature of the agency.

From Stacy Banker, project manager:

NG911 will drive a continued evolution of personnel and call-processing

Ongoing efforts to attract and adapt the right workforce will continue to be a top priority in emergency communications centers (ECCs). As Next Generation 911 (NG911) deployments increase across the country, a call-processing shift will occur, driven by more-accessible real-time data that will deliver a better response to emergency calls. Triaging and integrating that information into the call-handling and dispatch process will require specific skillsets and training, and more advanced technology.

Corollary to this, turnover in ECCs is at an all-time high, and officials will continue to seek solutions to traditional staffing models that no longer are meeting their needs. Last year proved that effective alternatives to traditional staffing exist, such as remote call-processing and dispatch, which is more appealing to the new workforce generation, which desires optimal work-life balance. This in turn will make ECCs more competitive when recruiting personnel.

From Bonnie Maney, client manager:

A need for flexibility will persist

While optimistic concerning near-term vaccine-distribution programs (and an expectation that 911 personnel will be prioritized with first responders), we expect budget challenges and operational disruptions to persist due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will require ECC officials to continue focusing on employee health and wellness, while community leaders address more structural challenges.

From Darrin Reilly, president and chief executive officer:

ECC operational changes will ramp up

Public-safety agencies, particularly ECCs, will pursue innovation to enhance responses to mental-health emergencies, low-acuity medical calls, alarm calls and non-emergencies.

The emergency communications ecosystem will continue to expand

This will enable sharing of command-and-control data with other agencies and partners. We see great opportunities for ECCs to acquire, analyze, record and distribute data from point of creation to their field responders and beyond. This will be accomplished via integration of traditional command-and-control systems (e.g., CAD, RMS) with enterprise criminal justice systems (e.g., digital evidence systems and courts-related systems), systems employed by healthcare providers, and safe/smart city technologies.

From John Chiaramonte, president of MCP’s consulting services:

Alarm companies will continue to address unnecessary emergency responses 

ECCs will see a noticeable drop in incoming calls this year as monitoring centers adopt alarm-verification and automated incident-transfer methodologies.  As many ECCs continue to struggle with staffing challenges, reducing incoming call volume will be a welcome relief; more importantly, it will improve call-answer times for the “real” emergencies.

AI will begin to demonstrate its benefits in the ECC

Artificial intelligence increasingly will be used to reduce, automate, or even avoid repetitive tasks within ECCs.  AI-assistive solutions—such as call-interrogation support, automatic transcription/translation, additional data analysis and alarm verification—will emerge in the 911 community in 2021; this will require a focused assessment of the technologic, operational, and policy impacts of these exciting new solutions.

From David S. Jones, president of MCP’s lifecycle management services division:

Cyberattacks on ECCs will increase in quantity and severity

ECCs will continue to be targets for ransomware and other cyberattacks that result in outages and labor-intensive/expensive remediation.  A focus on assessing risk, mitigating attacks, training, and conducting exercises will strengthen local resilience.

From Robert Horne, GIS specialist:

A severe shortage of GIS personnel exists

Recently, “GIS” was typed in the search box on, which resulted in the identification of 8,221 jobs.  That’s pretty significant.  Flipping through just a few pages revealed that many counties and cities are looking for geographic information specialists. 

The geographic information system (GIS) industry supports public safety, criminal justice, utilities, tax assessment, logistics—pretty much everything. There are thousands of open positions and very few graduates. Being a career nerd is not attractive to the next generation of college students. The consolidation of GIS capabilities is the next trend in all of these sectors. It will be drive by the lack of skilled professionals, which has pushed salaries well beyond the budgets of small counties, municipalities and companies.

From Matt Schreiner, senior services specialist:

Autonomous emergency-response vehicles

As vehicle manufacturers and government entities continue to embrace autonomous vehicles, and the road networks and systems required to deliver on that vision continue to evolve, how this technology is used for emergency response will need to be addressed.  Autonomous emergency-response vehicles (fire, police and medical) will be developed and tested—and in some cases placed into service—to ensure safe operations and streamlined responses. Integration with computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems and other public-safety networks and systems will begin to develop, and legislation will be crafted to address the governance required to enable these systems.

Consolidation of public-safety application vendors

This year will see additional consolidation of public-safety application vendors—e.g., CAD, mobile data, and records and jail management systems—as smaller vendors gain traction and larger vendors begin to add cloud-based solutions. Two factors will drive this: first, clients will gravitate toward large players that offer cloud-based solutions providing more robust features and functions; second, the larger vendors will want the intellectual property and customer base of the smaller vendors.

Non-public-safety vendors increasingly will become trusted players

Clients will continue to embrace and trust non-public-safety companies like Cisco, Amazon, Microsoft and Google to provide solutions that enable them to deliver on their life-safety missions.  Many of these companies will continue to erode the market share of traditional players in the public-safety space. This will be a natural outgrowth of data and workflow integration, as the cast of the big three “nets”—FirstNet, ESInets and the Internet of Things—continues to expand.

If you would like to learn more about these trends, download MCP's on-demand webinar, "The Biggest Public Safety Trends That Will Impact Public Safety in 2021," or by viewing MCP's related infographic, "The Biggest Trends That Will Impact Public Safety in 2021."

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Many of MCP’s 150-plus subject-matter experts have deep experience and expertise in these trends. They would love the opportunity to support you as you evolve your organization's operations and technology —please reach out.

Glenn Bischoff is MCP’s content specialist. Prior to joining MCP nearly seven years ago, he was editor-in-chief of Urgent Communications and Fire Chief magazines.

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