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
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?
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
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
- Cheryl Konarski
Project Management in
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
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
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