Annual public safety conference attracts wide array of public safety communications professionals
September 12, 2011, Daytona Beach, FL — The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International saw increased attendance at the 77th Annual Conference, August 7th-10th in Philadelphia, Pa.
More than 5,400 people attended the Conference and Expo, an 11% increase over last year's event in Houston. "We are especially pleased with the increase this year," said APCO International Interim Executive Director Mark Cannon. "With many local governments—the employers of public safety communications professionals—having cut back on travel, this growth shows that the APCO International Conference is high on the priority list for attendees with some even paying their own way ," he said.
The APCO International Conference combines professional educational and informational sessions with an exhibit hall featuring a variety of products and services used by public safety communications officials.
Exhibit sales exceeded 2010 as well, with 709 booths on display in the exhibit hall compared to 699 the previous year. The New Product Pavilion showcased new antennas, a 360º covert, pan tilt zoom camera that mounts on light poles and a new service that sends citizen-reported premise information to PSAPs.
The Distinguished Achievers Breakfast included a presentation by Juliet Funt, who said telecommunicators and other public safety communications professionals instinctually possess the attribute of presence, the ability to be in the moment, to calm 9-1-1 callers and handle emergencies. The goal of her presentation was to get people to have more "white space" so they can be calmer, more confident, patient and present (CCPP)."
Funt said, "This is not the white space that has to do with bandwidth… [It's] a block of unscheduled time and thought that we save for the spontaneous flow of life. It can be key in terms of stress management and life balance, creativity, innovation and performance."
Public safety leaders also gave educational presentations highlighting first responder challenges, narrowbanding, 800MHz rebanding, location accuracy, improvements since 9/11 and interoperability. At the second general business session, FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Chief James Arden Barnett Jr. noted that interoperability is costly and money is always a local issue, but "the sooner we get going on this [network], the more affordable it will be. FCC can help fund this with optional, voluntary spectrum auctions," said Barnett.
"Interoperability is not inevitable. It really could split away from us and go down the same path as LMR. It's not possible to retrofit interoperability. We don't want to see interoperability going down the same path for broadband that it has in other mediums," Barnett added.
APCO International formally unveiled its new logo at on the first night of the conference. During the event's opening remarks, APCO International President Bill Carrow said, "Through our renewed brand and the recognition it will create, we can truly establish ourselves as leaders in the public safety communications industry. We're very proud to introduce this refreshed brand and hope that it will instill an even greater sense of pride in you, our members, to know that you are part of a truly extraordinary organization."
To see photos and find out more information on the 2011 conference, please visit www.apco2011.org. The 78th Annual Conference will be held in Minneapolis, Mn. From August 19th-22nd, 2012, information can be found at www.apco2012.org.
About APCO International
APCO International is the world's largest organization of public safety communications professionals. It serves the needs of public safety communications practitioners worldwide—and the welfare of the general public as a whole—by providing complete expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach. www.apcointl.org