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Wisconsin Bill Helps With Critical Funds for NG 911 Rollout

A Wisconsin bill will assist counties with some of the costs of preparing to meet the technical requirements for Next-Generation 911 rollouts, including GIS staffing, data preparation and training.

911 dispatch
A Wisconsin bill co-authored by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, will create a Geographical Information System (GIS) grant program to help counties with upgrades they need to deploy Next-Generation 911 (NG 911).

Assembly Bill 708/Senate Bill 673 assists counties with the costs of some of the prerequisites for NG-911, such as data preparation, data gathering, data creation, GIS staffing, and collection contracts and training. This is the type of GIS preparation that counties will need to accomplish to meet the technical requirements to deploy NG 911.

NG 911 will enable the transfer of 911 calls between geographically dispersed public safety answering points (PSAPs). It enables PSAPs to transmit, receive, process, transfer, dispatch, use and store multimedia data, such as voice recordings, pictures, videos, text messages and other incident information.

An enhanced infrastructure is necessary to send and receive such data safely and reliably, and PSAPs will have to also enhance GIS data as the deployment of NG 911 depends on developing and maintaining data such as street centerlines, address points and emergency response boundaries.

This bill, and accompanying funding, comes on the heels of the 2019 Wisconsin Act 26, which directs funds to PSAPs for updated technology, equipment and other 911 infrastructure updates.

Though there will be other costs, the two grant programs are aimed at helping with the most expensive aspects of deploying NG 911, Loudenbeck wrote in an email. “There is a limit to the amount of grant dollars annually, but ongoing funding will allow the programs to be available to continue to assist the counties with expenses as the state moves toward implementation of NG 911,” she wrote.

Loudenbeck said award amounts will be determined by grant program rules created by a 911 subcommittee of the Interoperability Council in the Wisconsin Office of Emergency Communications, housed in the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.

Loudenbeck said that as the state continues to prepare for, pay for and execute the statewide implementation plan, it will be important for counties and local governments to also be involved in the planning for when to apply for grants, when construction could happen and when they can train employees on new equipment.

“Full implementation on a statewide and county level is going to be a project that spans several years,” Loudenbeck wrote.