December 2, 2021
Governor Larry Hogan
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
Senate President Bill Ferguson House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones
State House, H-107 H-101, State House
100 State Circle 100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401 Annapolis, MD 21401
Re: Next Generation 9-1-1 Commission’s 4th Annual Report per Chapter 302, 2018 (MSAR #11656)
Attached is the Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) Commission’s fourth and final report. A bipartisan group of legislators; 9-1-1 Center directors; technology and telecommunications industry representatives; Cybersecurity professionals; and other stakeholders have been diligently preparing Maryland to shift to NG911 technology. Inspired by the death of Rockville activist and District 17 resident, Carl Henn, when 9-1-1 failed, I have chaired the Commission since its inception. We released three previous annual reports in 2018, 2019, and 2020 that were incorporated into 11 laws that were enacted with bipartisan support. As a result of our efforts, Maryland is at the forefront nationally as we transition to NG911.
Issues were debated and approved by our four subcommittees: Finance & Structure (F&S); Oversight & Accountability (O&A); Staffing & Training (S&T); and Technology & Cybersecurity (T&C), and then voted on by the full Commission.
This final 98-page report includes 24 recommendations, many of which will be incorporated into legislation for the 2022 Session. Even those who are unfamiliar with 9-1-1 jargon should find this public safety document to be mostly clear and accessible. While most acronyms are translated at least once, we’ve also included a glossary on page 63. Among the highlights are:
- Streamlining access to mental health services for 9-1-1 Specialists;
- Authorizing counties to set the local portion of the 9-1-1 fee;
- Providing Workers’ Compensation for 9-1-1 Specialists with PTSD;
- Requiring timely notification of 9-1-1 outages;
- Increasing penalties for “Swatting” and cyberattacks on 9-1-1 Centers;
- Mandating Implicit Bias Training for 9-1-1 Specialists;
- Continuing Comptroller audit reporting;
- Improving 9-1-1 Board operations;
- Educating the public about Kari’s Law;
- Collecting 9-1-1 data statewide;
- Reclassifying 9-1-1 Specialists as First Responders;
- Enforcing cybersecurity standards at all 9-1-1 Centers;
- Ensuring that emergencies can be located in multi-story buildings (Z-axis); and
- Facilitating remote call-taking.
Vice Chair Steve Souder continues to offer his more than 50 years of 9-1-1 expertise to the Commission and deserves special recognition for his lifetime of leadership and service. I am deeply grateful to the Commissioners, consultants, and everyone who contributed over the past four years. Chief among those are subcommittee Chairs Charlynn Flaherty (S&T), Randy Cunningham (T&C), and Scott Brillman (O&A); my dedicated legislative colleagues Senator Ed Reilly and Delegates Susan Krebs and Terri Hill (as well as former Delegate, now Senator Michael Jackson); collaborative Kevin Kinnally of the Maryland Association of Counties; the brilliant team at Mission Critical Partners; my wonderful legislative staff; industry experts; and everyone else who contributed to our successful work. An indicator of my Commissioners’ extraordinary commitment to NG911 in Maryland is the generosity of Chief Richard Brooks (Cecil County) and Bill Ferretti (Montgomery County), who continued to contribute their valuable expertise after retiring and moving away.
As Chair, I have been determined that the Commission’s successes apply to each of the 24 Counties to ensure that “all boats rise together.” As we wrapped up our fourth and final year, the Commission was especially focused on the courageous women and men under the headset– the often overlooked sheroes and heroes who answer our 9-1-1 requests for assistance each and every day.
On a personal note, chairing the NG911 Commission over the past four years has truly been one of the greatest honors of my career. The overwhelming number of my legislative colleagues understood the bipartisan nature of our emergency system and the urgent need to save lives. The Maryland Association of Counties has been a steadfast supporter of virtually every initiative of this Commission. MD Department of Emergency Management (Acting) Secretary Russell Strickland and Comcast’s Sean Looney (retiring shortly) merit acknowledgment for helping us to wrestle some of the most complex and thorny issues before us.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need more information. We are united in our commitment to saving lives as we modernize Maryland’s emergency services; let’s work together to ensure that there are no more avoidable deaths like Carl Henn’s in Maryland in the years to come.
Cheryl C. Kagan
Cheryl C. Kagan
Senator, District 17 (Rockville & Gaithersburg)
NG911 Commission Chair
PS: If you’d like to see a photographic overview of the Commission’s tenure, please check out https://bit.ly/NG911Slideshow. This short video (and meaningful song by my friends David Roth & Glen Roethel) captures some of the key moments with our public safety leaders.