MCP Insights

CAD-to-CAD: Our Experts Weigh In

Posted by Morgan Sava on Jun 16, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Is your 9-1-1 agency considering a CAD-to-CAD capability to increase information sharing and data interoperability between jurisdictions?

We recently asked two MCP subject-matter experts to weigh in on the topic of CAD-to-CAD. Last month, we hosted a webinar to discuss the benefits and technical considerations of a CAD-to-CAD approach, as well as where to begin from a technical standpoint if they decide to implement this solution (Watch the webinar on-demand here.)

In this post, we’ll investigate the benefits as well as the varying models available in today’s market. Be on the lookout for a future discussion on CAD-to-CAD guiding principles and how an agency should begin their journey.

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Topics: Public Safety Technology

Four Tips for Agencies Considering Mission Critical Push-to-Talk Apps

Posted by Nick Falgiatore on May 30, 2017 4:20:27 PM

A myriad of commercial push to talk application options exist for public safety users, and for good reason. There are many benefits that can be realized by interfacing an existing mission critical land mobile radio system with a commercial push to talk service. You can read all about these benefits on our earlier post, “What is commercial push to talk technology and why does it matter for your public safety land mobile radio strategy?”

Or you can download our free whitepaper on this topic, “The Case for Push to Talk Technology in Public Safety.”

In this post, we will summarize what’s available in commercial mission critical technology, provide some detail around how the solutions work and what their advantages and disadvantages are.

At a very basic level, there are essentially three classes of PTT apps that integrate with LMR systems.

  • LMR-based – Apps that are available from traditional LMR vendors such as those that are provided by Motorola Solutions and Harris Corporation
  • Carrier-integrated – Apps that are available from commercial wireless carriers
  • Third-party – Apps that are available from third party providers
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Topics: Mission Critical Technology, Land Mobile Radio

CAD-to-CAD Best Practices, Challenges and How to Solve Them [LIVE WEBINAR]

Posted by Heather McGaffin, ENP on May 18, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Real-time, effective interoperable data sharing is essential in the 911 and first responder communities, especially as the industry transitions to Next Generation 911 (NG911). One necessary tool to accomplish this is CAD-to-CAD (also known as computer-aided dispatch to computer-aided dispatch, or CAD2CAD) interoperability.

CAD-to-CAD interoperability is not a new term—CAD systems have been used across the 911 community for decades. While CAD-to-CAD data exchanges have been implemented in several regions throughout the country, they are not yet a prevalent technology.

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, Continuing Education

Klobuchar-Nelson Bill Contains a Hidden Gem for the 9-1-1 Industry

Posted by Kevin Murray on May 5, 2017 12:00:00 PM

In February, a draft bill emerged, co-sponsored by senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Bill Nelson (D‑Fla.) that if enacted, would make the transition from legacy 911 to Next Generation 911 (NG911) a “national imperative.” Among other things, the bill calls for the creation of a federal grant program that would assist states and localities as they transition to NG911, and stipulates that any state receiving funds from this grant program would need to certify that the money only would be used for NG911 implementations.

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Topics: Network Evolution, Industry News, Integrated Public Safety Communications

Commercial PTT Technology: What it Means for Your Land Mobile Radio Strategy

Posted by Todd Johnson on Apr 28, 2017 11:19:00 AM

Mission-critical communication technologies have evolved at a dramatic pace in the last several years, leaving public safety leaders trying to evaluate what’s available, how it functions with other technologies, and how it can augment their existing systems.

One of those emerging technologies is commercial push-to-talk (PTT) functionality.

Commercial PTT functionality already has proven extremely valuable to public works, utilities, transportation, schools, etc. Within the public safety industry, and with our clients, we’re starting to see greater opportunities for it to integrate with traditional land mobile radio (LMR).

In this post, we’ll talk more about PTT technology and how it could directly benefit first responders. (If you want an in-depth look at this technology and how it’s impacting our industry, download our free whitepaper on this topic.)

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Topics: Mission Critical Technology, Land Mobile Radio

Telecommunicators Deserve the Spotlight All Year Long

Posted by Glenn Bischoff on Apr 13, 2017 1:28:58 PM

Every year in June when I was a kid, my father and I shared the same joke. We did this on Father’s Day. I would say to him, “Must be nice … so, when is Kid’s Day?” And he would reply, “Every day is Kid’s Day.” Behind the humor was truth—he and my mother celebrated me and my brothers, and went above and beyond every day to give us a good start in life.

A tribute to our nation's telecomunicators

What got me thinking about that is National Telecommunicators Week, which is celebrated annually during the second week of April. It could be well argued that the nation’s 9-1-1 call-takers, dispatchers and supervisors—the unsung heroes of emergency response—deserve to be honored every week of the year.

The gravity of the job is tremendous, and so are the stresses. Those who call 9-1-1 are experiencing the worst day of their lives, and for some of them it will be the last day.

Lives are on the line and seconds count

Recently I did a Google search using the phrase, “most disturbing 9-1-1 calls.” The stories are as heartbreaking as they are eye-opening. The emotional toll on the telecommunicators who field such calls is staggering. But they don’t have the luxury of succumbing to those emotions. Remember that when a 9-1-1 call is placed, lives are on the line and seconds count. Ergo, telecommunicators must keep their wits about them at all times, lest they be unable to do what is needed. This involves dispatching the appropriate emergency response, of course, but also keeping the person on the other end of the line calm and, often, providing life-saving instructions to the caller, and vital information to first responders en route to enhance their situational awareness.

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Topics: Industry News, Staffing

How to Find ‘A’ Players: An Intro to ‘Topgrading’ for Public Safety Leaders

Posted by Art Miley on Mar 31, 2017 1:30:28 PM

It is essential that MCP’s subject-matter experts (SMEs) provide exemplary service, expertise and advice to our public safety clients, because when lives are on the line and seconds count, their mission truly matters. A key element in assuring that we serve our clients at the highest levels is to hire “A” players, i.e., the top 10 percent of talent in the public safety sector. While such a determination might seem subjective, it really isn’t. In fact, we use an objective approach known as “topgrading” to accomplish this goal. It is an approach that every public safety answering point (PSAP) manager can leverage to attract the most knowledgeable and passionate talent available.

Topgrading Basics

Topgrading is a methodology that was developed by Dr. Brad Smart, who widely is considered the world’s top hiring expert. We describe topgrading as a structural approach to interviewing candidates, and we use it to fill every position. Here's a quick overview of how the topgrading process works for us.

Tip 1: Don't underestimate the importance of a pre-screen.

We start with a pre-screen interview to initially identify candidates who possess “A player” characteristics and eliminate those who do not.  Candidates generally will meet with us by phone or in a live environment.  The pre-screen interview generally will run up to 90 minutes.  During the interview we ask each candidate to state their career goals, identify their best professional attributes, and acknowledge their weaknesses.  We discuss the individual’s work history, the core values at MCP—persistence, integrity, trust, accountability and prudence—and team-oriented characteristics the individual can bring to our company.

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Topics: Life at MCP, Operations, Staffing

Life at MCP: Meet Bonnie Maney

Posted by Morgan Sava on Mar 31, 2017 12:35:43 PM

Project manager with a passion for the Public safety communications mission

Bonnie Maney, project manager, Mission Critical Partners, has been working in public safety dispatch centers for more than twenty-five years. She’s always had a passion for making an impact on the first-responder mission since the early days of her career working in public safety answering points (PSAPs) in Florida.

Coming to the "other side"

Bonnie spent most of her career working in the public sector. In 2015, she decided to make a significant career switch by pursuing an opportunity in the private sector when a close colleague recommended she join Mission Critical Partners. “I started consulting in 2010 for a national non-profit consortium where I worked for federal, state and local clients on various levels. I always wanted to try consulting and after this experience, I knew I had found a new calling that added another layer to my already satisfying career.” said Maney.

Since then, she continues to work on project of many shapes and sizes.

One of the most rewarding aspects of her job is, “Every project is as equally important to every client regardless it's size. The work we’re doing plays a critical role helping them advance their mission, and that’s where I find the greatest satisfaction.”

Even early in her career when she worked her way up from a telecommunicator to a PSAP manager, Bonnie has always been passionate about making an impact on public safety—whether it be for technology initiatives or working one-on-one with the staff helping to improve operations and promote a positive work environment.

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Topics: Life at MCP, Meet Our People

Achieving NG911 Interoperability: What Does it Take? [Webinar]

Posted by Dave Sehnert on Mar 27, 2017 9:23:10 AM
Emergency management and 911 organizations across the country are in various stages of migrating from operating in a legacy environment to Next Generation 911 (NG911), a broadband-enabled communications network that will dramatically enhance first responder communications.

If your organization is focusing on this transition, it’s likely you have a vision of NG911 interoperability. What may not be clear is exactly what steps you need to take to get there.

For example, GIS will play a central role in the NG911 transition, but what exactly does that mean for your agency? How important are policy routing rules? How do you begin establishing data interoperability with your neighboring agencies? And how will FirstNet impact this migration?

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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, Continuing Education

Telecommunicator-Training Guidelines: Proof that Collaboration Means Progress

Posted by Nancy Pollock on Mar 23, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Great things happen when an industry comes together as one.

Case in point: After Morgan O’Brien unveiled his idea for a nationwide interoperable broadband communications network for first responders in 2006, special interest groups soon developed within public safety concerning how the network should come about. There was so much disagreement and infighting that some feared Congress would get tired of it all, dismiss the idea, and reallocate the radio frequency spectrum needed to make the network a reality, resulting in a critical opportunity being lost forever.

Fortunately, public safety came to its senses and began to speak with a unified voice, largely due to the efforts of a group that called itself the Public Safety Alliance, and the rest is history. Congress enacted the Middle Class Tax Relief and Jobs Creation Act of 2012, which created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), and authorized $7 billion in funding for the buildout of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).

Another example of collaboration – the Telecommunicator-Training Guidelines

Another impressive example of industrywide collaboration culminated last summer when the Recommended Minimum Training Guidelines for Telecommunicators were released.

You can read more about them here.

Representatives from a diverse set of organizations—trade associations, public safety agencies, and 9-1-1 training vendors—looked past their own agendas and interests, and worked for more than three years to deliver the guidelines. Consensus-driven, these guidelines are intended to foster a baseline level of competency that will result in a more-consistent level of service being delivered to citizens and first responders, no matter where they are.

Major progress has already been made

Already the guidelines are being put to good use.

  • In the state of Idaho, a law was passed last week that mandates hiring standards and 40 hours of certification training, approved by the Idaho Peace Officer Standards & Training Academy, upon being hired as an emergency communications officer/emergency services telecommunicator.  It also requires 40 hours of continuing education every two years after that to maintain the certification.
  • In Minnesota, new training requirements adopted by the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board (MESB)—which covers the nine counties that surround the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul—took effect on January 1, 2017, are based on these guidelines.
  • In Kansas, a revised set of standards were developed by the Kansas 9-1-1 Coordinating Council, spell out the topics that should be included in the first 40 and 80 hours of telecommunicator training, take effect next year.

Each of these efforts is approaching telecommunicator training and certification just a little differently—which was the intention behind the national-level guidelines from the beginning. While they are intended to ensure a baseline level of competency for all 9-1-1 centers nationwide, the group emphasized that 9-1-1 centers can build upon and enhance the guidelines based on local needs and circumstances. What each of the efforts described above have in common is that they used the national guidelines as a benchmark.

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Topics: Industry Standards