By: SAFECOM Governance Committee
Under the leadership of Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald, the SAFECOM Governance Committee developed and published the 2016 SAFECOM Annual Report, detailing a thorough overview of activities, products, and projects completed by SAFECOM members in 2016. Sections of the report review SAFECOM committee products and activities, as well as in-person meeting outcomes.
The Committee also developed and published the 2016 SAFECOM Strategic Priorities: Summary of Accomplishments, a quick-read fact sheet of SAFECOM’s 2016 accomplishments, and a look ahead to SAFECOM’s 2017 priorities. In 2016, SAFECOM committees focused on several areas pertinent to the public safety community, including:
- Promoted the role of SAFECOM and its impact on public safety communications nationwide through participation at public safety conferences and the continued publication of blogs, newsletters, and bulletins;
- Supported the internal governance structure of SAFECOM through modifications to core program documents, such as the SAFECOM Charter and Strategic Plan;
- Explored the current state of Communications Unit (COMU) programs;
- Developed educational materials to inform elected officials and decision makers on funding and sustaining land mobile radio (LMR);
- Published innovative ways to fund emergency communications systems and activities;
- Disseminated information on appropriations and new funding sources available to the public safety community;
- Discussed and communicated challenges associated with the T-Band relocation, information overload, and public safety grade communications;
- Collaborated with federal partners to explore guidelines, best practices, and considerations for implementing encrypted LMR communications; and
- Provided guidance on Identity, Credentialing, and Access Management (ICAM)-related challenges through education and outreach materials
Looking ahead to 2017, SAFECOM identified several areas of focus for the public safety communications community. Funding is a key concern due to the decline in grant funds and lack of support for aging LMR systems. Technology, with concerns related to system failures, P25, ICAM, cyber, encryption, and the migration of the Communications Assets Survey & Mapping (CASM) Tool, also remain high on SAFECOM’s priorities. Finally, SAFECOM will focus on the integration of LMR and long-term evolution (LTE) and increased education, messaging, and clarification on what FirstNet will offer and when it will be available. Both the 2016 SAFECOM Annual Report and the 2016 SAFECOM Strategic Priorities: Summary of Accomplishments were approved during the March 9, 2017, SAFECOM Executive Committee conference call and can be found here.