March 24, 2003
SC NENA Membership:
SC NENA is facing several exciting and important issues. I would like to take this opportunity to make you aware and ask for your assistance in addressing them.
We have had some changes in our executive board. Due to an automobile accident, we experienced a great loss to the Executive Board and 9-1-1 leadership in South Carolina on January 10, 2003 with the tragic death of Scott Maness, Secretary (SC NENA) and Deputy Director (Florence County Communications). I personally have and will continue to miss his advice and more importantly his friendship. Also, as many of you may remember Barbara Sarjeant, Regional Vice President made a career change. I have ask Joey Avery, Laurens County Communications to serve the remainder of Scotts term as secretary and William Winn, Beaufort County Communications to serve the remainder of Barbaras. Both Joey and William bring a great deal of experience and will be an asset to our executive board.
Recently, I attended the First Annual 9-1-1 Goes to Washington Critical Issues Form on behalf of SC NENA. David Jones, Spartanburg Communications, National NENA Regional Vice President, and past SC NENA Vice President and Keith Lee, Spartanburg Communications and SC NENA Vice President also attended. This was an exciting time for the 9-1-1 arena and was two fold, to kick off the E9-1-1 Caucus and to bring together the 9-1-1 community with congressional members and staff. Senator Conrad Burns (Co-Chair), Senator Hillary Clinton (Co-Chair), Congressman John Shimkus and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo held a press conference on February 25 at the Senate Dirksen Building to launch the E9-1-1 Caucus. The E9-1-1 Caucus purpose is to bring 9-1-1 issues to the attention of the members of Congress. Those of us from South Carolina meet with staff members from both Senators Hollings and Grahams offices, and Congressman DeMint (Spartanburg) office. We were able to meet with Congressman Henry Brown, Horry County. We asked that they support and become members of the E9-1-1 Caucus, funding considerations were discussed and we offered SC NENAs membership as a resource for information on 9-1-1 and issues we face daily. The E9-1-1 Caucus has already resulted in a hearing during which the FCC announced a new E9-1-1 Coordination initiative.
“The FCC plans to launch an E-911 Coordination Initiative that would bring together relevant stakeholders to share experiences and devise strategies for expediting E-911 deployment. The initiative will officially commence with a meeting held at the FCC on April 29. The meeting will address ongoing implementation issues such as emergency dispatch center funding, wireless carrier implementation and prioritization, issues relating to local exchange carriers, and challenges faced by rural carriers.”
You can learn more about both the E9-1-1 Caucus and FCC Coordination Initiative buy visitingwww.nena.org.
There was a proviso for $4.3 million dollars from our wireless 9-1-1 subscriber fees to move to the general budget that recently passed in the House. I have written letters on behalf of SC NENA and sent them to the House Ways and Means Committee. I have also written letters to my local legislative delegation and have asked the executive board to do the same opposing this. The next step in this fight will be in the Senate and then the Governors Office. Time did not allow you to be contacted before the House votes; however, I am asking that you write your local Senators to oppose this idea. I will have a draft form letter posted on our web site for your use,www.scnena.org(73.1). South Carolina has only one county that has deployed Phase II and one county that is in the testing phase. It appears we are banking money with no intent on spending; however, that is not the reality. The cost has been a big question and we are closer to a better understanding of what that cost may be.
Homeland security has been a major topic for the nation and the public safety arena. Because of legislation that SC NENA was instrumental in being passed last year a First Responder Advisory Committee (FRAC) was formed. I served on this committee as your representative. A document was prepared and will be presented to the legislative body. The document will address topics of concerns for public safety. Before the FRAC completing this task, Governor Sanford named Chief Robert Stewart, SLED, to head up Homeland Security for the State of South Carolina. I have been asked and accepted to serve on the Counter Terrorism Coordinating Council by Chief Stewart. Also, there will be two communications representatives placed on each of the four regional CTCC groups. Your regional vice-president will serve along with a SC APCO representative; this information will be placed on the web site. I will be seeking information from you on topics of concerns and ideas/solutions in addressing Homeland Security. One of the most important items regarding the FRAC and CTCC is that for the first time E9-1-1 Communications is being asked to sit at the table with everyone else. When I meet with Chief Stewart and Major Christopher, I expressed that we (communications) just want to be treated fairly and equally. We are the first contact for public safety and the lifeline for field personnel. However, we are no different from others in not wanting to be told what we need or how to do it. I am very excited about this opportunity.
SC NENA is offering a National NENA course, Intro to PSAP Technology, March 26, 2003, in Columbia. We hope this is the first of many such classes. The class was offered at a reduced rate and a free slot with four paid slots. The instructor placed a limit on the class size and it filled quickly. We hope to offer more classes in the future.
SC NENA and APCO met to start working on our annual joint conference. The conference will be held at the Beach Cove Resort, North Myrtle Beach, October 22 24, 2003. Please let us know if you have an ideas or topics for sessions after all, this is your conference. We have a good idea on session ideas; however, we are looking for some telecommunicator training class ideas.
In closing, I want to thank each of you for the dedication you give in your daily duties. I am proud to represent and be affiliated with people like you. Please take a moment and visit our websitewww.scnena.org. Contact information for your executive board is listed. Please do not hesitate to call on any of us to assist you.
Renee Hardwick, ENP