New Report Explores the Challenges Faced by Public Safety
Thursday, August 25, 2022 | Comments

A new report from Mission Critical Partners explores the challenges that emergency communications centers (ECCs) and the public-safety industry at large face and explores strategies and tactics that are needed to achieve needed improvements.

The “2022 Model for Advancing Public Safety (MAPS) Analysis and Insights” report is based on findings from nearly 400 independent technology and operational assessments that MCP has performed for clients.

John Chiaramonte, president of consulting services for MCP, noted that comprehensive data about the state and status of 9-1-1 across the nation is difficult to find. MCP hopes that the report can help address that gap of data in the industry, he said. “It really gives people an easy-to-use insight on how the system is working.”

To produce the report, MCP used its MAPS methodology to conduct assessments and then aggregated those results to generate an overarching set of scores and identify common issues and potential solutions for a variety of public-safety areas. These include LMR, ECC operations, staffing and workforce optimization, next-generation 9-1-1(NG 9-1-1) readiness, geographic information systems (GIS), data integration, and cybersecurity and physical security.

Scores ranged from medium risk to high risk across all essential components critical for implementing NG 9-1-1, which is critical to meeting the rapidly evolving needs of citizens. Of all of the areas assessed, ECCs scored the lowest overall in their ability to implement NG 9-1-1 systems. When an NG 9-1-1 system is implemented successfully, ECCs experience a tremendous improvement in locating emergency callers, dispatching the appropriate response and providing enhanced situational awareness for first responders. Primary industrywide obstacles contributing to this area of weakness include a lack of funding and other resources, a lack of collaboration at the state and local levels, and limited understanding, foresight and commitment at the local level regarding the value of NG 9-1-1 services.

Other observations and analyses contained in the report include:
• While many ECCs have improved management and organizational structures in recent years, most cannot hire the full complement needed to meet today's operating needs, let alone future needs.

• Advancements in interoperability have been made, but many LMR systems still operate mainly on analog technology, and many radios lack advanced features.

• ECCs need significant improvement in numerous critical areas required for a proactive and resilient cybersecurity posture, including basics like multifactor authentication (MFA), password-management policies, and mitigating the significant risk from within, i.e., their own personnel, and/or third-party personnel, that is managing/servicing their mission-critical communications solution sets.

Chiaramonte said that MCP would like to release future versions of the report and include some trend analysis in the future.

Find the full report here.

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