Com­mis­sion­ers clear way for Next Gen 9-1-1 re­sources

Record Observer - - NEWS - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME [email protected]­pub.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — In a unan­i­mous vote, county com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved mea­sures dur­ing their Tues­day, Nov. 27, meet­ing to en­sure the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the next gen­er­a­tion of a 9-1-1 sys­tem.

Scott Haas, di­rec­tor of the Queen Anne’s County Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices, pro­vided a re­port out­lin­ing a grant to the depart­ment in the amount of $320,000 by the Mary­land Emer­gency Num­ber Sys­tems Board.

Ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial memo from the depart­ment to com­mis­sion­ers, “The pur­pose of this grant is to hire a con­sul­tant and project man­ager to as­sist the nine coun­ties of the Eastern Shore in­clud­ing Caro­line, Ce­cil, Dorch­ester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Som­er­set, Tal­bot, Wi­comico and Worces­ter.”

The con­sul­tant, Mis­sion Crit­i­cal part­ners, will as­sist each county in re­view­ing Next Gen 9-1-1 pro­pos­als to as­sist with de­ter­min­ing the best ven­dor for each of the Shore coun­ties. Mis­sion Crit­i­cal Part­ners was se­lected off the Na­tion Pur­chas­ing Part­ners Gov­ern­ment con­tract and is also the con­sul­tant for the state ENSB for Next Gen

9-1-1 in the state of Mary­land. “We’ve given com­mis­sion­ers two or three up­dates over the last 12 months on Next Gen 9-11 and how it af­fects the county,” said Haas. “We’ve part­nered with the nine coun­ties on the Eastern Shore which is Re­gion Four. That’s be­cause we all use the same Ver­i­zon tandems and we all switch over to Next Gen 9-1-1 at the same time.”

Haas said the project has con­tin­ued for an es­ti­mated two years where AT&T was only com­pany able to pro­vide Next Gen 9-1-1 to Re­gion Four. Since then, Mo­torola has of­fered an al­ter­na­tive op­tion with Re­gion Four re­ceiv­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion from both po­ten­tial ven­dors.

The unan­i­mous de­ci­sion by Re­gion Four, Haas said, was that bet­ter ex­per­tise was needed to de­cide who the bet­ter ven­dor would be. Thus, the need for Mis­sion Crit­i­cal part­ners emerged with­out any cost to the county.

“Part of the grant stip­u­lates that we have to fol­low county pro­cure­ment pol­icy since we’re pig­gy­back­ing off a gov­ern­ment con­tract,” Haas con­tin­ued. “All we have to do is re­ceive the invoice and we give it to the state ENSB to move for­ward. Our goal for Re­gion Four is that we go with the same ven­dor even though we can’t make any guar­an­tees it will go that way.”

Cen­tral Mary­land has al­ready de­cided to sign on with AT&T, but uni­for­mity on the Eastern Shore will make it eas­ier for tran­si­tion and call trans­fers. Haas also noted that AT&T was three to four times the cost the county is cur­rently pay­ing for ser­vices through Ver­i­zon. Mo­torola is half the cost of their com­peti­tor AT&T.

Haas said ei­ther op­tion has the county pay­ing more for the Next Gen 9-1-1 sys­tem than what is cur­rently be­ing paid to Ver­i­zon.

“Say we go with AT&T and four other coun­ties go with Mo­torola, the ques­tions will be if these sys­tems will in­te­grate within each other. We don’t want to wind up with a sce­nario like what hap­pened with ra­dios (for first re­spon­ders),” said County Com­mis­sioner Jack Wil­son in ad­dress­ing the pos­si­ble is­sues of mul­ti­ple ven­dors in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions.

Haas as­sured com­mis­sion­ers such a prob­lem would be un­likely even if there was no uni­for­mity in the ven­dors the nine coun­ties select.

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