Warner outlines Virginia communications plan
- By Diane Frank
- Oct 20, 2004
Virginia fiscal 2005-2007 interoperability plan
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner announced this week the state's plan to achieve communications interoperability, including specific goals for state and local public safety officials to speak and work with one another.
Starting with a strategy for the next two years, the plan sets four high-level goals with corresponding initiatives and performance measures to help ensure that the initiatives achieve the goals and people understand the plan, according to the report.
The goals are to:
Establish communications interoperability as a high priority, including tasks such as conducting a campaign to raise citizen awareness and developing a strategy for getting funding to local officials and initiatives.
Expand statewide use of common terminology and coordinated communications protocols, specifically to adopt a statewide set of radio codes and to develop common procedures for the National Incident Management System.
Maximize existing communications systems and coordinate planning for future technology purchases, including working with localities on voice over IP and incorporating life cycle guidelines and requirements into future requests for proposals.
Enhance proper use of communications by providing frequent and routine training, which will include conducting tabletop exercises, and then analyzing and sharing lessons learned.
Some of the performance measures in those areas include ensuring that local and regional government representatives make up at least half of the state's First Responder Interoperability Executive Committee and Advisory Committee by June 30, 2005, and migrating all of the state's public safety training academies to a single common set of codes for radio communications by June 30, 2006.
"The first 90 days of roll out and the initial phases of implementing this plan [are] critical to gaining the support to successfully accomplish the outlined goals and initiatives," the report states.
Other states are developing similar plans in cooperation with the federal Homeland Security Department's Safecom program. According to officials in Warner's office, Safecom officials are looking at the Virginia plan as a model.
In Virginia, officials held six focus group sessions statewide while developing the plan. In the end, 39 localities participated in the development process, according to the Commonwealth Interoperability Coordinator's office.
Chris Essid, the coordinator who has been in the position since December 2003, is the lead for the development and implementation of the plan, with the executive and advisory committees providing support and input.