County Joins Shore Towns In Support Of 911 Initiative

SNOW HILL – County officials officially agreed to take part in a regional procurement of the Next Generation 911 service.

The Worcester County Commissioners last week voted to sign a commitment letter regarding the regional procurement and implementation of Next Generation 911. Billy Birch, the county’s director of emergency services, said all participating jurisdictions had been asked to formally commit to the process.

Birch initially approached the commissioners in October about plans to join the other Eastern Shore counties to issue a request for proposals for Next Generation 911 infrastructure. Next Generation 911 is an initiative aimed at updating the nation’s 911 service to better perform in what is an increasingly wireless society.

The RFP process as well as the ultimate procurement of services is expected to be funded by the state’s Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB). Birch said the ENSB now wanted formal commitment letters from the participating jurisdictions.

He said the regional procurement was meant to make the process smoother.

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“Because of our geographic area they want to have one solution and one provider for these services,” Birch said.

Commissioner Chip Bertino expressed concern about the possibility of Worcester being overlooked as one of nine counties.

“I just want to ensure that when this is implemented Worcester County is not seventh, eighth or ninth when it’s in need of service or anything having to do with this system,” he said.

Birch said he didn’t think that would be a problem.

“We would basically be treated as one unit, all the counties,” he said. “There wouldn’t be like a layer system put toward it. That’s why they want one solution with one vender so that we all have the same equal service.”

Bertino stressed he didn’t want Worcester County to call in for service only to find itself in line behind Talbot or Dorchester, for example.

“I want us to have that opportunity and right to be dealt with when we need help,” he said.

Birch said he had no reason to believe the situation Bertino described would occur.

The commissioners voted unanimously to sign and submit the letter of commitment.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.