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Silent Key: Robert “Bob” Bloom

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  • Silent Key: Robert “Bob” Bloom

    The public safety community suffered a great loss on Monday, July 20, 2020, when Robert “Bob” Bloom died in a vehicle accident at the age of 61.

    Bloom was well known to APCO International and its members and was a regular presenter at conferences and contributor to PSC magazine. He most recently served on the Cybersecurity Committee and was chair of the Professional Development and Events Committee (PDEC) from 2017 and 2018. He also served on the APCO Mid-Eastern Chapter Executive Board and as Chair of the 2019 Annual Conference in Baltimore where, coincidentally, Bloom had worked early in his career (1997 – 2006) as a public safety telecommunicator and communications analyst for the Baltimore police and fire departments. He also made a cameo appearance in the 2004 film “Ladder 49” working in the Baltimore Fire Command Post vehicle.

    Upon leaving Baltimore, Bloom worked as an Applications Specialist for Motorola, Senior Technical Instructor for Hexagon (previously Intergraph) and Public Safety Systems Administrator for AECOM. Bloom thrived in the latter position and continued his work at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) before joining the City of Alexandria Department of Emergency and Customer Communications (DECC) as its Public Safety Systems Administrator in 2016.

    It was in Alexandria where Bloom made perhaps his most significant contribution to public safety, when he led Alexandria to become the first city in the United States to enable its dispatchers and call takers to answer 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 calls from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, Bloom was quoted as saying, “The biggest issue was to make them feel comfortable, because that was a big change for them. They’re working with different equipment that looks similar to what they have on the floor, but it’s in their house. They’re working from home for the first time, and they’re by themselves. So that was the key for us, was to make sure they were comfortable. If they’re not comfortable, this whole thing wouldn’t work.”

    Bloom was regarded as a leader in public safety telecommunications, receiving his Registered Public-Safety Leader (RPL) designation and Certified Public-Safety Executive (CPE) designation. He was also an Emergency Number Professional (ENP) with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).

    Bob Bloom lived in Alexandria, VA, and is survived by his husband, Art Viwatpanahchat, and their canine daughter, Rosie. Information about arrangements will be provided here when it becomes available.

    More information is available on this memorial page and the City of Alexandria memorial page.

    The City of Alexandria Department of Emergency and Customer Communications (DECC) asks that, in lieu of sending items to the center, you donate to the PSFA Sunshine Fund. The fund provides a measure of financial assistance for public safety communications professionals who experience a life-altering event that causes significant financial burden to them or their immediate family. Donations made payable to the “PSFA Sunshine Fund” can be sent to the APCO Accounting Department, 351 N Williamson Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

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