Charles County Awarded Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) Grant

LA PLATA, Md. (March 24, 2009)—The Charles County Commissioners unanimously approved today the acceptance of a $2 million grant awarded to the Department of Emergency Services to enhance interoperable capabilities and encourage the use of innovative cost- and spectrum-efficient technology solutions.

The PSIC Grant Program is a one-time grant opportunity that provides funding to States and Territories to enable and enhance public safety agencies’ interoperable communications capabilities. The awards help State and local first responders improve public safety communications during a natural or man-made disaster.

“We are so pleased that the State has entrusted us with this grant funding. It will allow us to further enhance our overall communications efforts in the County,” said County Commissioner President Wayne Cooper.

In fiscal year 2007, the federal government appropriated $1 billion to promote public safety interoperability communications nationwide, of which $23 million was allocated to the state of Maryland. Governor O’Malley, who identified interoperability as his number one homeland security priority, asked local governments in the state of Maryland to submit regional interoperability projects for consideration in receiving grant funds. The Southern Maryland region submitted four projects for consideration, and of those four, one regional interoperability project was selected.

“Although Charles County and the Southern Maryland region enjoy the benefits of interoperable communication systems, this grant funding will allow us to enhance, expand, and integrate our capabilities with the communication systems of other local, state, and federal response partners,” said William Stephens, Director of the Department of Emergency Services.

PSIC grant guidelines stipulate that the three Southern Maryland Counties must provide matching funds totaling $500,000, which equals $167,000 from each County, respectively.

The State of Maryland has designated the Charles County Department of Emergency Services to serve as the grant administrator and project manager. All work on the project must be completed by June 30, 2010.

Source: Charles County Commissioners

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