2019 NG911 Commission Report

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December 2, 2019

The Honorable Larry Hogan
State House
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401

The Honorable Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr.
State House, H-107
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401

The Honorable Adrienne A. Jones
State House, H-101
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401

Re: Commission Report required by Chapter 302, 2018 (MSAR #11656)

Attached is the second annual Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) Commission report. As you may recall, a year ago, the Commission released a 65-page report with 23 unanimously approved recommendations that were incorporated into three bipartisan bills that laid an important foundation for advancing NG911 in Maryland. The Commission adjusted the 9-1-1 funding formula; strengthened technology and cybersecurity protection; and identified best practices for recruitment, training, and retention of our
9-1-1 Specialists.

Despite the progress that has been made to improve Maryland’s 9-1-1 emergency response systems, there is more to be done. Once again this year, our work has been conducted in four subcommittees: Finance & Structure; Staffing & Training; Cybersecurity & Technology; and Oversight & Accountability.

As you’ll see in this 63-page report, there are 25 recommendations, many of which will be included in 2020 legislation. Among the key highlights are:

  • Shifting audit responsibility to the Comptroller’s office to ensure that 9-1-1 fees are collected and remitted accurately;
  • Recognizing the need for continuing education and occupational wellness for 9-1-1 Specialists;
  • Enhancing penalties for 9-1-1 misuse;
  • Updating and renaming the Emergency Number Systems Board with increased transparency;
  • Protecting privacy rights as NG911 enables people to send photos and videos to 9-1-1; and,
  • Enforce Kari’s Law, ensuring that multi-line telephone systems can reach 9-1-1 directly.

During Maryland’s transition to NG911, the Commission recommends extending its mandate for two more years. This additional time will allow the Commission to evaluate whether the updated 9-1-1 fee is sufficient; recommend changes to protect local PSAPs from cybersecurity threats; and assess county satisfaction with the 9-1-1 service.

I am deeply grateful to the Commissioners and observers; Vice Chair Steve Souder, with his 51 years of 9-1-1 expertise; subcommittee Chairs Richard Brooks, Bill Ferretti, and Charlynn Flaherty; Kevin Kinnally, Maryland Association of Counties; Mission Critical partners and other consultants; my legislative staff; and the devoted public servants who respond to 9-1-1 calls every day.

Please contact me or anyone on the Commission if you have any questions or need more information. We are united in our commitment to saving lives as we shift to NG911 in a thoughtful and effective way.

Respectfully submitted,

Cheryl C. Kagan

Cheryl C. Kagan
Senator, District 17 (Rockville & Gaithersburg)
NG911 Commission Chair