The Orange County Emergency Communications Center in Virginia, which will consolidate the county's law enforcement and fire and rescue dispatch services, is set to begin operations Jan. 31. The consolidation was accelerated when the sheriff's office experienced a shortage of dispatchers last year.
Even though all 50 states have opted into the FirstNet plan, they are not required to use AT&T, said Michael Maiorana, senior vice president for the public sector at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Verizon, FirstNet and AT&T are discussing an interconnection agreement to boost interoperability, he said.
The public will be given access to some radio traffic between dispatchers and law enforcement in Columbus, Neb., Police Chief Chuck Sherer said. In early November, the department began using an encrypted channel but will now use the public radio channel unless sensitive information needs to be given out.
The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment multiplayer simulator launched by the Department of Homeland Security aims to train first responders to handle active shooter incidents. An expansion to the software will focus on school shooting simulations.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is poised to introduce proposed changes to the mobile disaster-alert system, with requirements that smartphone makers and telecommunications companies work together to deliver alerts only to people most likely to be affected. Residents of some areas affected by disasters such as wildfire and hurricanes this year did not receive such alerts, prompting lawmakers to call for changes to the system.