Enhancing 911 to improve link to public safety providers
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council has unanimously approved a regional effort to upgrade and modernize the county’s emergency communications system. Known as E911, the system plays a vital role in sending emergency services to the residents of Enumclaw, as well as Seattle, suburban and rural King County.
King County’s regional E-911 system provides an emergency communications link between the people of King County and appropriate public safety responders, who are dispatched from 12 “public safety answering points” (PSAPs) across the county.
In addition to approving the Regional E-911 Strategic Plan, the legislation creates a new advisory governing body to coordinate decision-making and funding recommendations to sustain the countywide service.
“Citizens deserve the best public safety infrastructure available,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who represents Enumclaw of the County Council. “Today’s vote is an important step in that direction.”
Dunn was joined by Councilmembers Claudia Balducci and Kathy Lambert as the Council’s representatives on the E911 Leadership Group, which approved the plan adopted by Council.
“This strategic planning process has been a major undertaking and a big step in the right direction for increasing awareness at all levels, on the same plan, from the small to the large PSAPs,” said Enumclaw Police Chief Bob Huebler. “The bottom line is we want citizens to know that when they call 911 public safety professionals will be responding. This plan will improve coordination between behind-the-scenes technology, decision makers, and call receivers not only in the near-term but long-term. We appreciate the work done by the PSAP’s and the Program Office in making this happen.”
The new Regional Advisory Governing Board created by the legislation will make recommendations to the King County E-911 Program Office and County elected officials. The plan anticipates that over the next five years the board will work to replace the current analog technology while also balancing expenditures and revenues to sustain the system.
The Strategic Plan explains ways in which the financial situation could be stabilized through structural efficiencies coupled with establishing expanded or new revenue sources. It further recommends a handful of specific goals and deadlines identified through 2022, including the development of a cost-efficient staffing structure as well as making reforms to the existing tax structure.
“This strategic plan is the result of a collaborative, region-wide effort to ensure reliable 911 call answering services remain available now and in the future for the people of King County,” said ValleyCom Director Lora Ueland. It provides a tested framework which will further strengthen the partnership and shared vision that came from this experience.”
County officials expect the modernized E-911 system to be deployed by 2022.