IWCE Young Professionals Recognition Awarded Today

IWCE’s Young Professionals Awards Ceremony today recognized young professionals who have made a significant contribution in his or her company/industry. These individuals are executing some of our industry’s most innovative ideas, showing creativity and initiative. Winners were recognized at this special ceremony at IWCE 2017. They will also be featured on IWCE’s website and in IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

Congratulations to Jason Matthews,Vice Chair, Interoperability Committee, and Emergency Management Bureau Sergeant, Lake County Sheriff, FL, is one of the award recipients.



IWCE Presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Harlin McEwen, Honorary President, International Association of Chiefs of Police FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee

Kevin McGinnis, FirstNet, Presents Award to Harlin McEwen

Chief McEwen served on the Steering Committee of the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee (PSWAC) and as a member of the Steering Committee of the FCC Public Safety National Coordinating Committee (NCC). In November 2000, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, at their Annual Conference in San Diego honored Chief McEwen by presenting him with the first IACP Lone Star Distinguished Award in recognition of his exemplary service to the IACP for over 22 years as Chairman of the IACP Communications & Technology Committee. He is a Life Member and Honorary President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is also a Life Member of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO), and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

He is a Fellow in the Radio Club of America (RCA) and in 2006 was honored by being named the first recipient of the RCA/NPSTC Richard DeMello Award for his many contributions to public safety communications. In 2007, Chief McEwen was elected Chairman of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), a not-for-profit corporation consisting of representatives of fifteen national public safety organizations who began the effort to obtain the 700 MHz Public Safety Broadband License (PSBL) for public safety which is now held by FirstNet. Chief McEwen is currently the Chairman of the Public Safety Advisory Committee of FirstNet.

NG-911 Advocates Urge Congress to Move on Funding, But Price Tag Unclear

March 29, 2017–Several advocates of next-generation 911 service today urged Congress to provide funding for the adoption of such services by states and localities overseeing the 6,800 public safety answering points (PSAPs) in the U.S., but also indicated that the price tag for such an adoption effort remains unclear.

At a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s communications and technology subcommittee, Trey Forgety, director-government affairs and regulatory counsel for the National Emergency Number Association, said that Congress “should accelerate NG9-1-1 deployment by making a one-time investment in the capital infrastructure and transitions costs of NG9-1-1 systems at the state and local levels.”

Warning that the transition from enhanced 911 systems to NG-911 systems will be “expensive,” he said that NENA “is convinced that a one-time infusion of federal capital, coupled with an appropriate matching component at the state level, can significantly accelerate the transition, lowering the long-term costs of the transition for every level of government.” Continue reading

Cyber Issues Must Be Addressed Before DSRC Is Launched, Report Says

March 29, 2017–Before dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) networks are launched, cybersecurity must be addressed, according to a paper submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking released in December proposing to require that all new light vehicles have vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology to help drivers avoid crashes (TRDaily, Dec. 13, 2016). Continue reading

Former Public Safety Leaders Emphasize Importance of NG-911

March 29, 2017–LAS VEGAS – Former public safety officials stressed the need for the public safety community to advocate for next-generation 911 (NG-911) deployment as it did for the creation of a nationwide public safety broadband network, which led to the establishment of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). During a session here yesterday afternoon at the IWCE show, two speakers who once ran large 911 centers and were key players in lobbying for legislation that authorized FirstNet, Chuck Dowd, former assistant chief of the New York Police Department, and Chris Moore, former chief of the San Jose Police Department, stressed the importance of 911 in responding to emergencies.

“It’s deserving of attention and money,” said Mr. Moore, the former chairman of the Public Safety Alliance (PSA), the organization that successfully lobbied for the reallocation of the 700 megahertz band D-block and the reservation of $7 billion in funding. “I do think it’s time.” Mr. Moore is now senior vice president of Rivada Networks LLC, which unsuccessfully led a consortium to bid for the FirstNet contract.

“Next-gen 911 is of equal importance to the public safety mission at FirstNet,” said Mr. Dowd, who was a FirstNet board member for two years and is now a public safety consultant. If legislation is necessary to facilitate NG-911 deployment, “we need to support that,” he added. Continue reading

Officials Stress Hurdles for States to Get OK for Alternative State Plans

March 29, 2017–LAS VEGAS – Officials today emphasized that states hoping to build their own radio access networks (RANs) rather than having the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) partner do so will face hurdles in getting authorization from the federal government. At a session at the IWCE show here, representatives from FirstNet, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the FCC detailed the steps that states must take to pursue alternative FirstNet plans, and the FirstNet and NTIA officials repeatedly said getting the plans blessed won’t be easy.

Under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which established FirstNet, governors have 90 days after receiving the FirstNet state plan to notify the government that they want to opt out of having FirstNet’s partner build a radio access network in their states. Within 180 days after that, states must complete a request for proposals (RFP) and submit an alternative plan for approval by the FCC, which is charged with reviewing whether plans would comply with minimum technical interoperability requirements. If the FCC approves a state plan, the state has to apply to NTIA for authority to secure a spectrum capacity lease agreement with FirstNet. States seeking to build their own RANs may also apply to NTIA for grant funds to help cover those costs. Continue reading

S&T Snapshot: New Orleans Flood Experiment

Flood-related disasters present significant risks to life and property across our nation. During August 8-14, 2016, 6.9 trillion gallons of rain water flooded Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Around 60,000 homes were damaged by the deluge. The streets filled with over a foot and a half of standing flood water, making roads impassable and stranding residents without basic necessities. The flood interrupted communication lines, compromising emergency responders’ situational awareness. The American Red Cross Vice President of Disaster Services, Operations, and Logistics described the natural disaster as “the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy.”

In cases like the 2016 Baton Rouge flood, response agencies need assistance from surrounding communities and citizens—whether it is manpower, technology, status reports, or basic relief supplies. However, jurisdictions often have different communications systems, which can make it difficult to request help. This means that when a city is paralyzed by water, emergency responders have a difficult time maintaining situational awareness and gathering necessary resources. Continue reading