Strategic Planning for State and Local Public Safety Organizations

Emergency Communications by the Numbers
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The National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) is the nation’s strategic roadmap for public safety organizations to align interoperability goals with specific actionable steps and defined mechanisms to measure achievements. The planning process allows organizations to be proactive by prioritizing existing needs and identifying future investments to optimize interoperable communications. Effective strategic planning focuses on the strategic direction and alignment of all emergency communications-related technology (voice and data) within an organization or jurisdiction as well as the broader community of stakeholders.

At the state level, the Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP) is the document that defines the strategic direction for interoperable and emergency communications within a state or territory. It helps states and territories focus efforts and resources on investments necessary to achieve emergency communications operability, interoperability, and continuity. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security emergency
communications grants programs1 require applicants to demonstrate how their request correlates to the vision in the SCIP. Other federal grant programs strongly encourage organizations to review their state or territory’s SCIP to ensure their proposals support statewide plans. Each state’s Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC) provides a single point of coordination for interoperable communications that assists with development and implementation of a SCIP, as well as assures alignment with the goals and objectives in the NECP.

Strategic plans need to be periodically updated to ensure their priorities align with the current environment. However, according to the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey (SNS)2, few organizations update their strategic plans on a regular basis. This document reviews SNS data on the gaps in strategic planning and the benefits of coordinating with the state government on emergency communications planning efforts. This document also provides recommended actions in the NECP that public safety organizations can take to improve their planning process, along with a list of planning resources.