President’s Message (March 2014)

Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the women and men who serve as Public Safety Telecommunicators, this year the National Telecommunicators’ Week falls on the week of April 13-19. It was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in 1981 and was observed only at that agency for three years. Members of the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) became involved in the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s, the national APCO organization convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced what became H.J. Res. 284 to create “National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week.” According to Congressional procedure, it was introduced two additional times in 1993 and 1994, and then became permanent, without the need for yearly introduction.

We need to make sure we all thank those who work tirelessly answering the phone calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter how far technology progresses, without the dedicated personal attention Telecommunicators give on a daily basis, it would all be useless. This is a challenging profession that only few can successfully perform and so many lives are hanging on it.

FirstNet officials recently conducted the first in its series of quarterly webinars on February 10, 2014 with designated State Points of Contacts (SPOCs) that are designed to ensure that each of the 56 states and territories have up-to-date information about the plans to deploy a much-anticipated nationwide broadband network for first responders. TJ Kennedy, FirstNet’s deputy general manager, said the webinar provided guidance to SPOCs about some of the information that FirstNet representatives will ask from them when meetings with individual states and territories begin. “We did the big regional consultations last year,” Kennedy said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “But, as far as individual states, we’re looking to create a list of detailed criteria so that states know all the things they need to do to start the consultation. Once they’re ready to do that, that will let them know that they’re ready, and we can get those scheduled in the next few months.”

I hope that everyone can attend the April 10th meeting at the San Joaquin County Robert J. Cabral Agriculture Center!