April 22, 2009 By Janet Hamilton
Visit any public safety agency in the United States and you are likely to witness the nation's 911 network struggling to keep pace with citizen expectations and advances in communications technology. Public safety officials agree the move to the next generation of 911 is imperative.
However, as one Florida county learned, the public safety community must overcome many obstacles to successfully migrate to a next-generation 911 (NG911) system. These challenges include the integration of new applications into existing systems, developing new funding models, and addressing deployment and policy issues.
Charlotte County took on those obstacles and moved ahead with a NG911 system. There are two public safety answering points (PSAPs) in the county supporting one sheriff's office, one police department, two fire departments and one medical response agency.
"Charlotte County moved forward with deploying a next-generation 911 network to better safeguard our citizens," said John Davenport, the county's sheriff. "This new network will support traditional 911 operations, while also providing a secure foundation from which new lifesaving capabilities can grow -- something our existing network can't do."
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