I hope that each of you had the best of holiday seasons and the happiest of New Years. Thank you for understanding that I was unable to attend the meetings in Norman, Oklahoma, in December. The adventure I took part in on the USS Missouri had been a year-in-the-works. My wife and I signed up to do service work for 10 days aboard the battleship to help with upkeep and maintenance of the vessel. To be there on the December 7th Pearl Harbor Day Anniversary held extra special meaning.
I am both humbled and honored to have been elected Chair of SAFECOM. It is a privilege to be associated with each one of you. You are all experts in your field who focus on public safety communications and the advancement of services and technology to support our first responder community. While we all come from different disciplines, backgrounds, and perspectives, we have focused on a common goal: to promote better use and application of technologies for the agencies and organizations we support, and be an example that will help others do the same.
A little about me: I have been a public safety communications professional since 1970, holding a variety of positions, from public safety dispatcher to director. I have been a member of SAFECOM since its inception, including the Public Safety Wireless Network effort, prior to SAFECOM. I have also served as the President of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International from 1994-1995.
My current position is Executive Director of the UCA, an independent State agency, formed in 2014 by the Utah Legislature. UCA replaced UCAN, the Utah Communications Agency Network. Our responsibilities expanded to include: Statewide 800 and VHF radio networks and the supporting sites, towers, and connectivity. We are also responsible for the State 9-1-1 Committee, 9-1-1 network, NG 9-1-1 implementation, coordination of Utah’s FirstNet efforts, and the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator’s Office.
I am grateful that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and OEC continue to support and promote SAFECOM activities. The collaborative efforts among Federal, State, and local governments, along with the numerous association representatives, create a platform to develop interoperability initiatives and technologies in support of our collective missions. The SAFECOM message, outreach, and the NECP have all been critical parts of getting the public safety communications message a higher level of visibility in the emergency response community. Communications needs and resources are recognized as the most critical part of the emergency response effort.
There is no doubt that the public safety community is in an environment of rapid change. Making sure the people and organizations SAFECOM represents are aware of those impending changes is the most important thing we can do. Providing responders with the resources to help accommodate change is critical to all of our success. I look forward to serving with each of you in 2015.