APCO Show Daily
Wednesday, August 8

Today we’re starting off with professional development tracks followed by the Food for Thought Luncheon with a keynote address from New York Times best-selling author Scott O'Grady.

End your conference with a laugh! Tonight is the Connect & Celebrate Dinner that starts with live entertainment by Michael Andrew and the Swingerhead Band followed by dinner and a performance by Dewayne Hill, America’s funniest comedic magician. Recognitions will be given during the dinner, including the Jack Daniel Award, Presidential Awards and the swearing-in of the APCO Executive Committee & Board of Directors.

Updates & Reminders
  • To access session handouts, go to the Attendee Service Center and enter your login and password from your registration confirmation. You can also access them in the conference app.
  • Find information on CEU’s and session evaluations.
  • Check out photos from APCO 2017 on our Flickr page.
  • Check your inbox over the next few days for our conference survey – we want your feedback!
  • We are looking forward to seeing you next year at APCO 2018 in Las Vegas, NV!
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Conference Coverage

Civil Unrest in Baltimore

Presenter: Scott L. Brillman

Speaking to a standing-room only audience, Baltimore 911 Director Scott L. Brillman spoke of the challenges his center faced and lessons learned during the protests and rioting in 2015. The civil unrest was sparked by the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. 

"You can predict a hurricane, can kind of predict a snow storm or tornado, but humans are a little bit unpredictable," said Director Brillman.

Director Brillman discussed his center not having civil unrest protocols. "This can happen anywhere without notice," Brillman said. "Just because it’s not happening in your city doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared.

Baltimore 911 received 38,000 incoming calls within five days, peaking at 11,400 calls on Monday, April 27, 2015. The center normally receives 3,700 to 4,000 calls daily. Baltimore 911 went into crisis mode, suspended usage of EFD and EMD protocols and only used the protocols for lifesaving measures. "People were still having emergencies," Brillman said

Dispatchers handled 113 officer needs assistance alerts, 144 vehicle fires and 15 fully involved structure fires.

"That’s something we have to work on," Brillman said speaking of the need for 9-1-1 centers to have a Civil Unrest Protocol. "This seems to be happening more often and more frequently...so start thinking about what your call takers are going to tell people when they need help."

Brillman closed the session by thanking the multiple centers across the country that reached out to Baltimore during the protests.

- Isia Wilcox


FirstNet Town Hall

Presenters: David Buchanan, Susan Swenson, Jeffrey Bratcher, Richard Stanek, Kevin McGinnis

This update to FirstNet’s progress was a high-level summary of many other deeper-level FirstNet presentations provided throughout the conference. The five-member panel provided a 30-minute update, followed by 30 minutes of questions from the audience. The panel’s comments and answers to questions communicated the following very clear messages:

  • Members of the Board are pleased with the progress made in the last 18 months.
  • FirstNet’s primary role is to ensure that AT&T delivers all the things the project promised to deliver to public safety practitioners.
  • FirstNet will remain committed to being an advocate for public safety as long as the network exists.
  • FirstNet must ensure the service provides interoperability, security, resilience and quality of service, all at a reasonable price.
  • There are three groups from which accountability is required for FirstNet to be successful:
  1.  FirstNet: accountable to public safety to ensure advocacy, good governance and excellent service
  2. AT&T: accountable to FirstNet to deliver what it promised in its RFP response
  3. Public Safety: accountable to participate in good faith and take ownership in the solution

Those messages seemed to provide the audience with a feeling of confidence that FirstNet is on the right track.

- Matthew Schreiner

Suicidal Callers

Presenters: Rex Carney and Micki Carney

This session focused on the proper handling of calls from suicidal persons. The telecommunicator may be the little bit of light that helps the caller see suicide is not the answer. "Dealing with someone who is suicidal is not your typical call. If given the opportunity, you must give these callers your heart."

The session identified four types of suicidal calls: third-party calls, ambivalent callers, regretful callers and decided callers. Third-party suicide calls occur when someone other than the person contemplating suicide calls for help. This may be a friend, family member or even a social media friend with little personal information. Ambivalent callers are not sure they want to die, and they want help. These callers are reaching out for a lifeline, and telecommunicators are that lifeline. Regretful callers have acted on their plan and regret it. This may be a teenager who took a bottle of pills and is now realizing she doesn’t truly want to die. Decided callers have already made up their mind, and their plan is immediate. These callers may follow through regardless of the telecommunicator’s attempt to stop them.

Regardless of the type of caller, telecommunicators should always use empathy, not sympathy, with a suicidal caller. These are the types of calls where the telecommunicator's work can truly mean life or death.

- Tina L. Chaffin

Sustaining Public Safety Radio Systems in the Face of Budget Constraints and Planning for New Technologies

Presenters: Robert "Dusty" Rhoads, John Rockwell, Penny Rubow, GE McCabe

Currently, many radio systems are nearing end of life, yet the equipment purchased with once-abundant grant funds now needs to be replaced and upgraded to current technology. The Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) grant program awarded over $1 billion to many public safety agencies, with approximately 90 percent of the funds being spent on equipment. Now, 10 years later, the equipment is in need of replacement to ensure service levels and to ensure that agencies are capable of interoperability. The lack of current grant funding for public safety radio systems has agencies struggling to find alternative funding mechanisms for rapidly declining equipment.

Robert "Dusty" Rhoads with the DHS Office of Emergency Communications stated, "Grant funding is declining; we are having to do more with less."

States like Alaska, Arkansas and West Virginia have begun to implement statewide interoperability radio systems but still face funding hurdles. Groups of stakeholders have worked with federal government officials through the SAFECOM/NCWIC Funding and Sustainment Committee to develop guidelines and resources to assist public safety in educating decision makers on issues impacting public safety communications. Individually, these states have also looked at alternative sources of funding and all continue to work with state legislative leaders.

All panelists agreed on the need to work together toward interoperability, to plan for technology needs such as P25, FirstNet and T-Band, to plan life-cycle replacement from the beginning of the project and include funding needs for sustainment and enhancement and continue to work with stakeholders and educate decision makers in each state to find alternative funding mechanisms for radio systems.

- Tonia Rogers

Tuesday's Distinguished Achievers Breakfast began with opening remarks from FirstNet Chairwoman Sue Swensen, and APCO Executive Director and CEO Derek Poarch made several recognitions throughout the morning. After attendees were served breakfast and enjoyed time getting to know others at their tables, Colonel Jill Morgenthaler (Ret.) gave the keynote address, "Leading From the Front: Leadership Amidst Chaos."
APCO 2017's Second General Business Session began with Executive Director and CEO Derek Poarch's state of the association report. Three of APCO's federal partners then provided updates. Returning to association business, Quorum Resolution #1, related to privileges of the Online Membership category, was passed unanimously. Finally, APCO President Cheryl J. Greathouse presented the 2018 executive committee election results: 2017 Second Vice President Holly Wayt moves to first vice president, and Tracey Hillburn fills the seat of second vice president.
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