APCO 2019 concluded its first day with APCO International’s First General Business Session on Sunday as members heard a regulatory update, voted in a trio of new life members and considered pitches for the next second vice president of APCO.

President Holly E. Wayt, ENP, RPL; First Vice President Tracy M. Hilburn, RPL, ENP; Second Vice President Margie Moulin, RPL; and Past President Martha K. Carter presided over the meeting in Ballroom 307-310 of the Baltimore Convention Center.

Kimberly Burdick, RPL, CPE, of Montana and Jason Kern of Illinois are competing for the second vice president’s position.

Burdick, a 30-year veteran of the Benton, Montana, emergency communications center, is the Montana APCO Chapter president.

“I believe there are three values that make up leadership, and with these values in mind I believe I can lead this organization. Leadership to me is listening, learning and mentoring,” Burdick said.

Among the issues facing APCO, Burdick noted reclassification, cybersecurity, NG9-1-1, PTSD and training. “If elected, I will continue to work with the members and leaders in APCO towards the critical issues in public safety,” she said.

Kern, a member of the public safety industry since 1991 and of APCO since 1997, currently serves on the executive council of the Illinois APCO Chapter. Kern is executive director of a regional consolidated emergency communications center that serves over a dozen agencies with a population of 215,000.

Kern vowed to promote the “mental and physical wellness” of the APCO membership, to push the Project 43 document and to improve communications within the organization.

Members can cast their votes online or at the voting booth at the conference registration desk. Voting closes on Tuesday, August 13, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The winner will be announced at the Second General Business Session at 4:00 p.m. that day.

Jeff Cohen, APCO’s chief counsel and director of government relations, delivered a regulatory update to APCO members. Cohen said APCO persuaded the FCC to narrow the range of z-axis precision for wireless carriers. He said the first proposal of +/- 5 meters was reduced to +/- 3 meters. “Three meters is better than five meters, but public safety telecommunicators need more accurate, actionable location information,” Cohen said.

Cohen noted that the FCC requires new multi-line telephone systems starting in 2020 to provide direct-dial capability, on-site location and dispatchable location. He noted that older systems would be grandfathered in, however, and so would not be required to give the same level of 9-1-1 service.

Cohen described the status of spectrum at risk under current law or proposed FCC rules. “APCO has expressed concern that introducing unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band will cause harmful interference to public safety operations,” he said. Other spectrum issues on the APCO government affairs agenda are 4.9 GHz FCC rule proposals and a push by APCO to change federal law so that T-Band will not be auctioned off by 2021.

Cohen noted the latest enhancements to Wireless Emergency Alerts, which provide severe weather warnings and amber alerts to smart phones. And he outlined continuing pressure to assure that emergency communications centers receive “timely, actionable situational awareness information about any outage that affects communications with 9-1-1.”

Without dissent, APCO members approved Nonie McCandless, Elizabeth Phillips and Frank Thomason as APCO life members.

Those who attended the general session will have a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card by attending the second session. To be eligible to win, bring the ticket handed out at the first session to the Second General Business Session on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. when a drawing will be held. You must be present to win.


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