The Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, will receive an update on a planned emergency universal call-taker system for the County’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC). The County has missed its June 2013 goal of having a streamlined system in place and representatives of the Executive Branch will discuss with the committee possible next steps toward establishing a new system.
The Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Phil Andrews and includes Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich, will meet in the Third Floor Conference Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov
The ECC answers all 911 calls dialed in Montgomery County, as well as non-emergency police service calls. The current operation is a bifurcated model with separate Police Department and Fire and Rescue Service call-takers and dispatchers. Initially, Police Department staff answer all incoming calls to determine if the caller needs police, fire or medical assistance. If the caller needs fire or ambulance assistance, the initial Police Department call-taker routes the caller to a Fire Department call-taker (who is located in the same operations room). The additional transfers often add to a backlog of calls and increase response times.
Over the past year, the ECC was planned to move to a Universal Call Taker model, combining and cross-training all call-takers so that all calls can be processed without the need for a second transfer step. Issues with a software vendor are one of the major reasons the system has not been implemented. A contractor with the selected software vendor was terminated in April.
Fire Chief Steve Lohr and Assistant Police Chief Luther Reynolds are among those expected to attend the worksession.
At 9:30 a.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Health and Human (HHS) Services Committee, which is chaired by George Leventhal and includes Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice, will address Executive Regulation 20-12 that proposes criteria for the County’s Housing Initiative Program. The program provides deep rental subsidy programs and supportive services for very low income households.
The HHS Committee also will hold a worksession on a proposed amendment to the Fiscal Years 2013-18 Capital Improvements Program that would provide $1 million each year to help arts organizations with projects of new constructions, expansion, renovation or physical plant repairs. The grants would range from $25,000 to $250,000. The Arts and Humanities Council would oversee the grant submission and review process.
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