EFJohnson
APCO Show Daily
Post-Show Edition

Thank you to everyone who attended APCO’s Annual Conference & Expo and thank you for making it one of our best conferences yet! More than 5,600 attendees and exhibitors gathered in Denver last week to earn CEUs, visit the expo and network with their peers. They were not disappointed as APCO 2017 offered more than 100 educational sessions and 290 exhibitors, not to mention the incredible keynote speakers and social events like the APCO Block Party and the Connect & Celebrate Dinner. Be sure to check out the photos on Flickr and Instagram. We hope to see you again next year in Las Vegas for APCO 2018!

 
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 our photo highlights on our Flickr page. A full library of photos will be made available soon for all attendees to view and download from.
  • Please check your inboxes tomorrow for information regarding participating in our survey. We thank you in advance for your input.
 
Tyler Technologies
Airbus DS Communications, Inc.
Conference Coverage

FirstNet Innovation Panel
Presenters: Bill Schrier, Mark Golaszewski, Neil Miller, Chris Riley, Jeff Carl

Public safety professionals and technology experts from FirstNet and AT&T discussed how FirstNet will enhance public safety operations using mobile apps and other new tools.

Sheriff Miller and Chief Riley provided examples of apps being used by first responders to increase officer presence in the community, improve situational awareness with video feeds from school cameras and aerial drones, and facilitate cross-agency communications. Technology experts from FirstNet and AT&T then described the application ecosystem being developed for public safety and the mechanisms designed to ensure security, interoperability, and continued innovation.

- Mark Reddish

Incident Dispatch Teams
Presenter: Jeanie Pharis

This session was a comprehensive overview of incident dispatch teams (IDT). Jeanie Pharis broke the teams down into easy to understand concepts to bring the whole IDT picture into focus.

"An incident dispatch team is a group of trained dispatchers who respond to the scene of large scale events/incidents and work the varying levels of communications at the incident as opposed to the dispatch center."

Jeanie provided the attendees with needed ammunition for them to develop, train, and gain agency buy-in for tactical dispatching and incident dispatch teams. These teams can play a vital role in natural disasters, hazardous materials operations, multiple alarm fires, large scale incidents, full scale training exercises and mobile command posts. An all-hazards incident dispatch team must know their incident command structure in order to know how to function in the field.

The session emphasized that, although having an incident dispatch team is a "difficult sell" that doesn’t end when the team is formed, telecommunicators should "know your worth" and how communications professionals’ skills in multitasking and listening are typically beyond those of other first responders.

Policies must be in place, qualifications must be ironed out and budgets must be taken into consideration before an IDT can be established. These planning elements pay off when a telecommunicator is freed from the emergency communications center to dedicate his or her time to the incident. "When you’re on scene you have a better grasp of what’s going on," Jeanie stated. Telecommunicators are a critical, if often overlooked, component of a successfully mitigated incident.

- David Larson

FirstNet State Plans and the Governor’s Decision
Presenters: Dave Buchanan, Marsha McBride, Carolyn Dunn

Since the awarding of the FirstNet contract to AT&T on March 30, FirstNet has been busy informing states and their associated decision-makers about their FirstNet options. Within FirstNet’s timeline, states have been providing comment and questions to FirstNet regarding the implementation, with questions so far focusing on coverage during build out of the FirstNet network, deployables available through the FirstNet program and other issues.

The next steps for FirstNet include consulting with public safety, engaging in dialog about network experiences, and  advocating for enhancements, upgrades and improvements in the network. David Buchanan assured attendees, "We will be advocates for public safety." According to the FirstNet timeline, states must choose whether to opt-in or opt-out of FirstNet no later than mid-December 2017.

Representatives from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) also presented information on the State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP), outlining the necessary steps that states who opt-out of FirstNet must meet. The SAPP plan would assure that states choosing not to follow the FirstNet plan would meet the same criteria within the same time frames from a technical, coverage, budget, planning and many other standpoints as the chosen FirstNet contractor, AT&T.

NTIA also provided a quick overview of the SLIGP grants program, including the existing grants that will end in February 2018 and the new SLIGP 2.0 grants program that will be announced this fall. Additional information about the SLIGP grants program and the SAPP program will be available on the NTIA website as the process continues to move forward.

- Tonia Rogers

So You Want to Be a Director? Are You Sure?
Presenter: Zim Schwartze

Zim Schwartze, director of Springfield-Greene County 911, shared a fascinating perspective for those thinking about becoming a director, or even moving up into a leadership role in their communications center.

Zim began her career in public safety in law enforcement. Through a series of twists and turns, she became the director of a 9-1-1 center. She shared the many lessons she has learned along the way. One of the most important is to surround yourself with qualified people who will strengthen your weaknesses. If they aren't in place when you begin, seek them out.

Another lesson learned is to realize the common misconceptions between disciplines. You will be dealing with multiple agencies and disciplines who each believe they know what the other is doing. You must have an awareness of each other to be effective. You need to educate yourself and educate them to help build a cohesive team.

The third important lesson is to have the right personality to be a director and learn to fight the battles that matter. How you handle a situation makes the difference in the outcome you are trying to achieve. Not everyone is meant to be a director. Recognize that and determine if this is truly what you want.

You will spend most of your days in meetings. This is a good thing - you are being invited to the table and your opinion matters. You will also be handling issues and complaints, projects, technology issues, and most important, being there for your people. You are going to be caught in the middle of everything - your board, other agency heads, the public, your supervisory staff, and again, your people. You will have many unique challenges, including budgets, juggling projects, educating the public and user agencies on what you do, responding to media requests, and keeping your people happy.

If, after all this, you still want it, just go for it! Drive and push yourself to reach any goals you set for yourself. According to Zim "If you have the right personality and right people, you can do anything."

 - Cheryl Konarski

Project Management in the PSAP

Presenters: Megan Bixler, Stacy Banker, Steve Leese

This was an incredibly thorough, down and dirty, presentation on project management concepts geared toward emergency communication center professionals. Megan Bixler broke down project management into easy to understand process groups. First, she explained why project management was so important. The triple constraints of cost, time and scope were discussed as their balance, or imbalance, directly affect the quality of the project’s results. Each process group was then identified. Initiation, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing were examined sequentially in ample detail.

Megan discussed the importance of work breakdown structure, which dissects the project into manageable sections. Despite all of the work in planning and execution, the need for monitoring and controlling of the project remains. "No matter how hard you try, you cannot plan for everything," stated Megan.

Stacy Banker took the reins and showed project management in action via a case study of a CAD/MDC procurement and replacement. She unpacked the relationship between goals, planning deliverables and key success factors. Stacy discussed the value and utility of a steering committee, the unencumbered project manager, the project management team, and the groups of subject matter experts, end users, and technical staff. Negotiation teams, use cases and project milestones as they related to the case study were also discussed in depth.

Steve Leese followed up with his experiences of the pitfalls and perils of undergoing a project without using the previously discussed project management principles.

Megan closed with a informative discussion on the relationship between resources, time, planning and implementation throughout the traditional project lifecycle.

- David Larson

 
Wednesday’s Food for Thought Luncheon included recognition of the Chapter Growth Awards, the Agency Training Program Certifications and the 2017 Conference Chair, Bruce Romero, and the Host Conference Committee. Keynote speaker Captain Scott O’Grady (Ret.) spoke on the lessons his harrowing experience in Bosnia taught him about preparation, teamwork and leadership.
 
APCO 2017 concluded with the Connect & Celebrate Reception and Dinner, during which Nathan McClure was presented with the Jack Daniel Award, Jay English was presented with the Presidential Award, and the 2017-2018 regional representatives and APCO Executive Committee were sworn in—the first all-female executive committee APCO has elected.
 
Stancil Corporation
TC Communications
 
Verint Systems

 

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