Is your agency slowed down by outdated systems or overburdened because of limited capabilities or simply ready for a Next Generation 911 (NG911) refresh? If so, this could be your time to cash in on millions of dollars of grant money and create a safer community for your citizens. A recent federal grant program is making it possible for law enforcement to upgrade 911 communications systems with millions of dollars in federal grant money available to public safety agencies across the country.

Here is an all-in-one cheat sheet law enforcement agencies can use to benefit from the federal grant money and upgrade your 911 communications.

How much money is on the table?

The Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce announced a total of $109 million they have awarded to 34 eligible states plus two tribal nations to upgrade their 911 systems. Called the 911 Grant Program, the median value awarded is $2,656,050 per state, with some receiving upwards of $11 million. When the biggest roadblock to technological progress within public safety is budgetary, this is a golden opportunity for public safety agencies to increase the long-term safety of their communities through more sophisticated 911 systems.

The 911 Grant Program will contribute 60 percent of the total upgrade project costs while the states must contribute the other 40 percent.

Who’s Eligible?

Thirty-four states/territories and two tribal nations have recently been awarded the grant money to upgrade their 911 communication to be NG911 ready. The states are:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

How will it help my agency?

An upgrade represents a critical move into more modern emergency communications, enabling agencies to become NG911 ready. Benefits of NG911 are myriad. For citizens seeking help in an emergency, NG911 gives them the ability to text 911 in dangerous situations and send pictures, video and other multimedia to first responders. For dispatchers, they can share information with and reroute calls to different public safety answering points while law enforcement agencies strengthen their locational services, which includes greater accuracy of where an emergency call is coming from.  

Additionally, the 911 Grant Program can help assist with personnel training by allocating funds for 911-related training of public safety personnel, including call-takers, first responders and others who are part of the emergency response chain.

Next steps?

Most agencies’ systems are due for a hardware refresh approximately every five years, so odds are, your agency will need an updated system sooner rather than later. Many states are pushing their agencies to become NG911 ready, increasing the need for more upgrades.

The winning states have already researched and selected the agencies for which they will upgrade systems. If you are one of the eligible agencies, you will have until March 31, 2022, to complete the upgrade project funded by the 911 Grant Program. Upgrading systems never happens overnight, so now is the time to begin the search for an experienced partner, like CentralSquare Technologies, who will help create a seamless transition process and elevate your agency into the next generation of emergency communications.