Welcome to Power Update and our new landing page!  We hope you enjoy this e-newsletter, designed especially for the PSAP community. We’re excited to share successful technology implementations from industry colleagues across the country, relevant public safety news and updates on West solutions and services for public safety. In the Events section, you’ll learn where to connect with our teams for exhibits, presentations and product demonstrations. We want your feedback! Let us know what you think or send content ideas for future editions to powerupdate@west.com.

Note from Beth Meek

The Way We See Hurricanes
– Natural Disaster Management at West

The names of especially destructive hurricanes are usually retired. Impacts remain after the storms subside but I, for one, hope that we’ve seen the last of Florence and Michael. According to Geology.com, the hurricane names on the 2019 alpha list are Andrea, Barry, Chantal and Dean. Let’s hope they won’t be needed!

Thanks to the forecasting sciences of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we can have a pretty good idea when these cyclonic systems begin to collect air, heat up, and rise to form rapidly swirling formations that may hit landfall.

At West, we believe preparedness is the best response. You can’t always anticipate every impact a major storm system will create, but we are always dedicated to providing the best service possible to our customers, even in the most dire and unpredictable circumstances. Our decisions on any day are based on the best possible information available, and informed by policy – preplanned, preemptive protocols that we’ve tried and tested to meet any challenge to our network.

Through West’s Incident Command process our 24/7 Network Operations Center establishes communications and provides continuous monitoring for PSAPs in the affected storm area. Our network of field personnel located throughout the nation and regional emergency reserve hardware depots allow for an immediate response to meet the needs of PSAPs of any scale. From proactive distribution of spare parts, emergency repairs, and even a full out “PSAP in a box” deployment in the case of total disaster recovery type scenario West is ready.

It’s all about knowing the right thing and doing the right thing with technology. Please read “Natural Disaster Response and Support” for more information about our approach. For more detail, “Natural Disaster Management at West” includes an overview of Hurricane Season 2017.

Best wishes,


Beth Meek, VP/GM
Safety Services Division
West Corporation

Public Safety Heroes in Our Midst

By Mary Boyd

Congratulations to the 2018 NENA Founder’s Award honorees – AT&T, Gerry Bleck, Jack Fuller, Paul Linnee, Will Little, Jeff “Gunny” Rogerson, and Reginald Weiser!

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) added a special touch to the 50th Anniversary of 9-1-1 celebration by honoring eight designees with the NENA Founder’s Award at their annual conference. In addition, the committee has selected entities as winners. For example, they presented the Founder’s Award to the City of Haleyville, Alabama, where the first 9-1-1 call was received in 1968.

2018 has been a great year to recognize and thank those that made significant contributions to the development of NENA from its earliest days to the present. This award was established by the NENA Executive Board in 2011 and continues to prove the association’s core values, focusing on 9-1-1 technical standards and operational best practices. [1]

The 2018 award winners join an esteemed group. Consider the first three Founder’s Award honorees:

2011: Roger Reinke is considered to be the “Father of 9-1-1”. After serving both the Oakland, California Police Department, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Mr. Reinke joined the Office of Telecommunications Policy in the Executive Office of the President in 1972.  In this role, he helped state and local agencies implement 9-1-1 as the emergency telephone number of choice. His influence was broad and extended to advocacy for computer-aided dispatch to improve emergency response.

Mr. Reinke began looking for an association that would sponsor 9-1-1 as a program leading to the formation of NENA. The Illinois chapter was founded first as a pilot with eight members. Wisconsin joined next and the association came into being. The reality of his vision is clear whenever we gather for a NENA conference, webinar, training or other event – he organized and managed the first three annual 9-1-1 conferences providing a lasting tradition for the overall benefit of emergency communications.[2][3]

Read more about his life here.

2012: The second winner of the Founder’s Awards was Scott Hovey. While serving the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Mr. Hovey recognized that addressing “overlap” issues may inhibit the development of 9-1-1 in metropolitan areas. In 1968, the department set up their own geographic information system (GIS) to manage addressing concerns such as identically named streets and addresses within a single prefix.

Mr. Hovey knew that, with a GIS base file, computers could resolve these location and routing problems. What he called “automated 9-1-1” resulted in selective routing. He headed up a project with the federal government for proof of concept leading to a national trial for selective routing which would connect the PSAP with ALI/location information. Alameda County, California, was chosen as the pilot site. The proof of concept worked as Mr. Hovey expected, paving the foundation for what we now term “Enhanced 9-1-1”. [4][5]

2013: Mike Moos was the fourth NENA president in 1985-1986. At the time, he was Chief Planner for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.[6] His organizational expertise added structure to the association with the development of bylaws for governance.[7] The NENA logo was created during his tenure as well. Mr. Moos was instrumental in blending all of the regional NENA groups into a cohesive unit and building a solid foundational structure for the annual conference including sponsorships and led to the fine tradition of educational enrichment for public safety personnel that we appreciate today.

It’s fitting that multiple winners would join the podium for the Founder’s Award in a celebratory year.  Join me in congratulating my fellow honorees:

AT&T: In the early days, AT&T supported and promoted the use of the 3-digit number, “9-1-1”. They worked closely with the FCC to meet oppositional challenges and stayed the course. The company also developed switching gear for use in large cities.

Gerry Bleck: Gerry Bleck is one of eight original members from Illinois and is the longest active NENA member. Among his accomplishments is the first consolidated center in Illinois. He served as a PSAP Coordinator for 45 years and is still active in the industry.

Jack Fuller: As founder of Plant Equipment, Mr. Fuller is a true 9-1-1 innovator, mover and shaker. AT&T had developed switching equipment with the larger city in mind. Mr. Fuller saw a different opportunity and began producing and selling the equipment not only to AT&T and other providers, but directly to customers. The MARS 9-1-1 phone system is one example of his team’s inventions.[8]

Paul Linnee: Some say that Paul Linnee brought Mapping to the forefront of 9-1-1. Mr. Linnee’s career included nine years each as the Director of Public Safety Administrative Services in Richfield, Minnesota and as Director of Emergency Communications for the City of Minneapolis. Known as the “GIS Evangelist”, he remains passionate about 9-1-1 call delivery and processing, providing expert guidance on the GeoComm Corporation Board of Directors, consulting agencies and industry publications.[9]

Will Little: Will Little found a way for dispatchers to view ANI and ALI data through the introduction of a small computer screen. Before the prevalence of CAD, there was no way a PSAP could actually see and process the Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and Automatic Location Information (ALI) from the phone company. Mr. Little used cathode radio tube technology to develop a mini computer screen, for ANI/ALI display.

Jeff “Gunny” Rogerson: Gunny Rogerson was one of the original Illinois NENA members. He signed letters of incorporation for both Illinois and National NENA. Mr. Rogerson worked for Illinois Bell telephone and was instrumental in their decision to underwrite costs for the annual conference. As a guiding compass for NENA throughout the early years, Gunny was strict about 911 technical and operational standards.

Reginald Weiser: As founder and former owner of Positron Public Safety Systems, “Reg” Weiser and his technical team developed 9-1-1 call handling and switching equipment serving PSAPs throughout the world.

I’m so proud of NENA and all of those who serve both the art and science of 9-1-1. I want to also extend a hearty “Congratulations” and thank you to the “Founders” of the Founders Award – the NENA Executive board.

Recently, a 15-year member told me about her first experience at a NENA conference. She named some of the people she met there, she remembered the key note speaker and she remembered the New York Police Officer who sang “Wind Beneath My Wings”. She said that she immediately felt like part of the public safety family, and still does. That’s a great legacy – Roger, Scott and Mike would be proud.

Mary Boyd is VP of Regulatory Policy, External Affairs at West Corporation, was also proud to receive the 2018 Founder’s Award. Throughout her 40+ year tenure in public safety, Mary Boyd has been involved with 911 system design, implementation, funding and regulatory issues associated with deployment of the service at both the State and Federal Government levels. She was the fifth NENA president and has held many voluntary positions with industry associations.

[1] R.Bonneau, personal communication, July 25, 2018

[2] “NENA Mourns the Passing of Hall of Famer & Founding Member Roger Reinke”. (2018, October 16). Retrieved from https://www.nena.org/news/news.asp?id=297239&hhSearchTerms=%22Founders+and+Award%22

[3] “REINKE”. (2018, October 16). Retrieved from https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.nena.org/resource/resmgr/Homepage/Roger_Reinke_Obituary.pdf

[4] “2012 NENA FOUNDERS AWARD Interview with Recipient Scott Hovey”. (2012, Summer). The Call. Retrieved from  http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/NENQ0212/index.php?startid=31#/34

[5] “Longtime Orinda resident helped streamline first response with ‘E911’”. (2015, August 20). East Bay Times. Retrieved from https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2015/08/20/longtime-orinda-resident-helped-streamline-first-response-with-e911/

[6] “About Mike Moos”. (2018, October 16). Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/mike.moos1

[7] “NENA Past Presidents”. (2018, October 16). Retrieved from https://www.nena.org/page/PastPresidents

[8] “The Leaders of 9-1-1 from its Inception to Present”. (2018, April). The Call. Retrieved from http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NENQ/NENQ0417/index.php?startid=6#/6

[9] R.Bonneau, personal communication, July 25, 2018

Industry News

West Safety Services and SecuLore Solutions Announce Sales Partnership to Provide 9-1-1 with Cybersecurity Services

Public-Safety-Focused Cybersecurity Solutions
West Corporation and SecuLore Solutions, an innovator in public safety focused cybersecurity, announced a sales partnership at APCO 2018. West and SecuLore are working together to expand their collective offerings and services to the public safety infrastructure. West delivers technology and services that provide the critical link between the public and public safety; SecuLore specializes in cybersecurity solutions created for public safety to help prepare and protect them from cyber attacks. Together, West and SecuLore aim to empower our public safety personnel with supportive services, so that our 9-1-1 call takers and first responders can continue to protect the public.

“SecuLore’s public safety-specific cybersecurity offerings are a valuable addition to West’s solutions for Public Safety Answering Points,” said Beth Meek. “This collaboration demonstrates our continued commitment to providing excellence in advanced communication technology to enhance emergency communications.”

“We’ve recorded over 300 publicly reported cyber-attacks to public safety agencies and local governments in the last 24 months. 9-1-1 teams need the resources to monitor and visualize what cyber activities are going on in their network so that they can protect themselves and their critical services. West Safety Services has always been a pioneer for public safety, and they are once again demonstrating their commitment to Next Generation 9-1-1 by deciding to offer cybersecurity solutions that protect these networks that are moving toward data-oriented services. The SecuLore team is honored to be a chosen partner for this very important offering. Working together, we hope to make managing, visualizing, and protecting data as easy as possible for our public safety personnel.” – Timothy Lorello, President and CEO of SecuLore Solutions.  Learn more about SecuLore here.

Good News

Captain Jimmy Williams, E911 Director, leads Sheriff’s Office to a full 9-1-1 text solution.

Captain Jimmy Williams of Oconee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) has a reputation for getting things done. He is fascinated by advanced technologies now available to public safety answering points (PSAPs) and works hard to ensure that OCSO 9-1-1 dispatchers have the best, most powerful call handling tools available.

“Efficiency and accuracy need to be spot on,” says Williams. “We want to make sure that the systems we use streamline PSAP operations to help our dispatchers work as efficiently as possible without interruption.”

It is no surprise that OCSO was one of the first PSAPs in the State of Georgia to implement texting capabilities in their emergency communications center. When Captain Williams joined forces with OCSO in 2002, he was tasked with a specific call to action – bring the emergency communications center into compliance with State and Federal law.

Captain Williams set high standards when he helped move the OCSO Communications Unit from paper, pencil and sticky notes into the digital age. Two years of planning and preparation led to the successful implementation of a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System in 2002 followed by subsequent refinements through upgrades and precision improvements. In 2013, Oconee County became the first of 159 counties in Georgia to implement SMS-to-TTY.

When it came time to find, test and implement a full texting solution, Captain Williams used the same methodical, tenacious approach as with other projects. He wanted his team to have the best options available to receive, transfer and respond to 9-1-1 text messages. That began with a policy requirement to handle incoming texts like any other 9-1-1 call to avoid disruption of the call-handler’s workflow.

West’s TXT29-1-1 was a good fit and met Williams’ criteria for a seamlessly integrated Text-to-911 solution versus non-integrated Over the Top (OTT), swivel chair web-based, or reliance on TDD/TTY solutions. He wanted to give his team tools that would create efficiencies rather than distractions from call- and text- handling with a separate screen, mouse and monitor. Another “must have” was Message Session Relay Protocol (MSRP) connection methodology that operates as it will within the ESInet. Finally, detailed, easily accessible reporting was essential. OCSO was already equipped with the West VIPER® call handling system which allowed for a smoother, more seamless cutover and provided a truly integrated solution within their existing Power 911® call handling screen.

Captain Williams likes working with West.

“I like to know how the backend works and get my hands on it,” he said. “They set up a virtual machine for me and I got to assign all the buttons and customize the options for our center.”

Although OCSO is a small PSAP with just three dispatchers per shift, they have been on the cutting edge of technology for nearly two decades. In 2009, they were honored at the Georgia Emergency Communications Conference as the E911 Center of the Year. In 2013, Captain Williams himself was named Communications Director of the Year by Georgia APCO/NENA (GAAPCO). Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry also received the GAAPCO “President’s Award” that year for his dedicated support of emergency communications in Georgia.

40-year Law Enforcement veteran, Sheriff Scott Berry, is proud of his team for providing yet another link in the chain that keeps citizens safe. He credits Captain Williams for moving technology forward not only in Oconee County, but across the state, with an approach that is quick to analyze an issue, drill down to where the problems are and get to the solution.

“I want to thank Captain Jimmy Williams and his team for making our agency one of less than eight in the entire State that has true ‘Text to 911’ capability,” remarked Sheriff Berry. “This IP-based system integrates seamlessly with our communication consoles allowing any signal that hits a cell tower located in Oconee to actually text directly with our 911 center.”

“If you happen to hit a tower in Athens or another nearby county you will be directed to call 911 as opposed to being able to text”, he explained. “This is true, two way text to 911 – a huge jump in technology that makes the 911 Center more responsive to the citizens we serve.”[1]

“Captain Williams has a firm grasp on technology, he understands our mission, and has a heart for serving the needs of our citizens,” said Sheriff Berry. “I try to find different ways to communicate with our citizens and those who both support and do not support us. When they need help, the need to be able to contact us.”

“True text to 9-1-1 is difficult to accomplish,” he continued. “We are now 100% up and running with West’s TXT29-1-1 solution.”

[1] Berry, Sheriff Scott. “I want to thank Captain Jimmy Williams and his team for making our agency one of the less than 8 in the entire State that has true “Text to 911” capability…” 10MAY2018, Facebook post.

More Good News

Congratulations are in order! Click to read full articles.

Do you have good news to share with your colleagues? Click here to send your stories to POWER UPDATE for future editions.

Product News

Find 9-1-1 Callers Faster

If companies like Dominos and Uber can find us, why can’t 9-1-1? Learn how West’s Wireless Dispatchable Location Services (WDLS) solution uses handset-based location to reduce call transfers and find 911 callers faster—with no costs or infrastructure changes at the PSAP.

How Do You Define NG9-1-1 Success?

While the technology to implement Next Generation 9-1-1 systems is available and functioning now, the transition involves much more than new computers. Implementing NG911 requires the coordination of multiple components, processes and people, who will plan and deploy a continually evolving system of hardware, software, standards, policies, protocols and training.

The “Next Generation Essential Guides” Educational series can help you get started, and help you map your steps, no matter where you are in the process.

Upcoming Events

It’s been a busy year with hundreds of public safety events hosted by APCO, NENA, state associations and public safety organizations across the country. Although 2018 is winding down in terms of conferences, tradeshows, exhibitions and training events, we are looking forward to a full schedule of events in 2019.

Please mark your calendars for the West 2019 User Education & Training Forum which will be held September 16-19 in Loveland, Colorado at the Embassy Suites Conference Center. Within full view of the Rocky Mountains and just minutes away from The Ranch Events Complex and Budweiser Events Center, the venue is located close to a variety of restaurants, shops and entertainment options that might make you want to stay longer than three days!

We are excited to present Robyn Benincasa as our keynote speaker. Ms. Benincasa is an award-winning motivational speaker and no wonder! She is a World Champion Adventure Racer, three-time Guinness World Record kayaker, San Diego firefighter, 10x triathlete and now New York Times bestselling author. She is also the proud owner of two bionic metal hips and Founder/CEO of the Project Athena Foundation, which helps survivors live an adventurous dream as part of their recovery.

You can count on our usual line-up of industry-specific educational sessions on topics such as CPE & GIS Command and Control; Cyber Security; Location Technologies including wireless dispatchable location; Text-to-9-1-1; plus more on industry trends & FCC updates.

We’ll make sure you’re notified when registration opens in June. In the meantime, please email any questions you may have about the 2019 User Education & Training Forum to Donna McNeiley.

Events In Queue:

2018 Illinois Public Safety Telecommunicators Association Conference, Springfield
APCO Canada 2018, Windsor, Ontario

2018 Oregon APCO NENA, Lincoln City

2019 Q1:
January 15, 2019
Tampa, Florida

March 4-7, 2019
Columbus, Georgia

CAL NENA Mission Critical Training Event
March 10-13, 2019