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Computer-Aided Dispatch Trends That Should Be on Your Radar — Part 2

A previous blog explored several short-term trends regarding computer-aided dispatch (CAD) of which emergency communications officials should be aware. These include:

  • The rapid evolution of CAD mapping
  • The increasing momentum of CAD interoperability

Computer-Aided Dispatch Trends That Should Be on Your Radar — Part 1

Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems are the lifeblood of every emergency communications center (ECC) — without them, providing law enforcement, fire/rescue, and emergency medical response, while possible, would be much more challenging. Given the importance of CAD systems, every ECC manager should be aware of the following short-term trends.

Learn the Ins and Outs of Cloud Implementations for Public-Sector Agencies in Our Latest Podcasts

The “cloud” still seems to be a thing of mystery to many in the public sector. To help unravel the mystery, MCP created three podcasts, which can be found on our website, SoundCloud, and Spotify.

New Podcast Offers Numerous Ideas to Solving the 911 Community’s Staffing Problems

Dutch folklore recounts the story of a little boy who plugs a hole that formed in a dike, using only his finger, to keep his town from flooding — he stays in place through the night despite the cold and becomes a hero. If this story were applied to today’s 911 community, the boy would need to use multiple digits or would need a few of his pals to help out.

Newest Podcast Covers the 911 Community’s Biggest Issues — CAD System Inconsistency, the Staffing Crisis, and More

For more than a half century, the 911 system in the United States has performed admirably, saving countless lives in the process. But today it needs some work. A migration to Next Generation 911, which represents a quantum leap forward in terms of capabilities compared with the legacy 911 system, is what we hear about most often. But several other key aspects require equally rapt attention.

Recently I participated in a podcast with Laurie Flaherty, the recently retired coordinator of the National 911 Program, and John Chiaramonte, president of Mission Critical Partners' consulting business, in which a few of the most pressing needs were discussed. (Click here to view the podcast, or view it as video here.)

A Toolkit Designed To Help Telecommunicators Get Their Due

A problem long has existed in the 911 community, which is that telecommunicators working in emergency communications centers (ECCs) from coast to coast are wrongly classified by the federal government. This has a profoundly negative effect on their self-esteem, compensation, and career development.

The National 911 Program created a toolkit, with Mission Critical Partners’ help, to address this. More on that soon — but first a little history.

Take This Step to Move Next Generation 911 Interconnection Forward

Next generation 911 (NG911) networks represent a huge leap forward compared with legacy 911 systems. They locate emergency callers more efficiently and accurately because they leverage geospatial routing. Because they are broadband-enabled, they can transport incredibly large files, e.g., video, that would choke legacy systems. And because they are Internet Protocol (IP)-based, they enable seamless shifting of a 911 center’s operations to another center in a bug-out situation.

A Few Words of Praise for the National 911 Program’s Laurie Flaherty

On Friday, December 17, Laurie Flaherty, the longtime coordinator of the National 911 Program, will retire. That will be a sad day for the 911 community and for me personally. I first got to know Laurie when I was editor-in-chief of Urgent Communications. Our paths crossed often over the years at conferences, usually when I was covering an educational session where she was speaking. Inevitably, I would make a beeline to her as soon as the session ended, at which time she would patiently answer every question that I had, generously giving me all of the time that I needed.

Broadband Could Be the Key to Unlocking Federal Funds for NG911 Implementations

It has been a few weeks since Congress reduced the amount of federal funding for Next Generation 911 (NG911) implementations in the Build Back Better Act — also known as the Budget Reconciliation Act —from $10 billion to $470 million. Also included is $20 million for administrative costs associated with the grant program that will disperse the money, $9 million to establish an NG911 cybersecurity center and $1 million for establishing an NG911 advisory board. The House passed this legislation on November 19 and it now goes to the Senate.

There seems to be a considerable amount of handwringing about what slashing NG911 funding by roughly 95 percent means for the future of this vital technology. That’s understandable. NG911 represents a quantum leap forward compared with legacy 911 systems — an apt analogy is that the former is an airplane while the latter is a horse and buggy.

911 Telecommunicators Need Help and Alternative Responses Are Part of the Solution

Emergency communications centers (ECCs) — also known as public-safety answering points (PSAPs) —handle an enormous volume of 911 calls, about 240 million annually nationwide. This figure is expected to rise significantly over the next few years, driven by smartphones, alarm systems, and internet of things (IoT) devices (e.g., wearable medical monitors).

As call volumes rise, telecommunicators who already are short/understaffed, undertrained, and under siege in many ECCs will be subject to even greater pressures as they work to send the correct response in the shortest amount of time. Fortunately, ways exist to relieve these pressures, and many agencies are exploring how they can strengthen and diversify how they respond to calls for service, both 911 and non-emergency.

Decision Regarding NG911 Is An Obstacle That Can Be Overcome

Last week the 911 community received some bad news.

The House recommended just $500 million for Next Generation 911 implementations, a fraction of the $10 billion that it originally recommended. (See the Urgent Communications story.)

We know that $500 million isn’t going to stretch very far. We also know that the $10 billion is right in line with the Next Generation 911 Cost Study that Congress requested in 2012. Three years ago, the National 911 Program published the Cost Study, with support from Mission Critical Partners. Congress had requested a comprehensive investigation into the cost of deploying NG911 service nationwide. It did so in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 — the same legislation that authorized the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) being implemented under the auspices of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and provided $7 billion in seed money.

An Introduction to Data Lakes for Public Safety and Justice Organizations

Imagine that you're a fisherman, and you need to catch a large volume and wide variety of fish. Now imagine that the fish scatter amongst numerous rivers and streams, a situation that makes your task far more time-consuming and difficult. Moreover, you risk missing some types of fish you need to catch to fulfill your mission, either because you can't find them or you run out of time.

This metaphor describes the environment in which public safety and justice organizations are working today. Many systems exist that generate or store information vital to investigators, prosecutors, judges, and corrections officials. However, many are unable to access the information when they need to do so. That's because siloes exist in these systems, making it incredibly challenging for the individual entities that comprise the public safety and justice ecosystem — the 911 community, law enforcement, prosecutors, the courts, and jails/prisons — to exchange data. Siloed systems are analogous to the rivers and streams in our metaphor.