Onondaga County Emergency Communications Governance and SOP study


Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications partners with the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University (BBI) under New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYSDHSES) grant for formalizing agency governance structures.

As part of its continued dedication to public service excellence, the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications partnered with BBI to formalize activities and processes of the Policy Review and Oversight – Governance Committee, making it more available to first responder agencies and the public. The committee addresses issues such as allowing agencies on the radio system, radio system usage, and current and future system needs. This activity is fully supported through a NYSDHSES competitive grant award from the Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communications won by Onondaga County. William R. Bleyle, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Communications for Onondaga County, is leading the project.

Onondaga County is a founding member of the Central New York Interoperable Communications Consortium (CNYICC), which has been praised by NYSDHES for its progressive collaboration in emergency communication and 9-1-1 services. In this project, the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications and BBI will work collaboratively to assess and formalize the work of the Department of Emergency Communications Governance Committee. This ensures the county operates in accordance with state and federal principles of interoperability and best practices, as well as serving as a model for public safety communications in general.

By reaching across county lines and standardizing emergency communications practices within Onondaga and across CNYICC consortium counties, Onondaga will continue its trajectory as one of the nationwide leaders in first response communications. The Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications is fully accredited by both CALEA and APCO; Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. and the Association of Public-Safety Communication Officials.

Implementing previous models of success as well as collaborating with Onondaga County Officials on new methods will improve regional emergency and public safety partnerships between different counties and agencies. This serves to create improved efficiency of emergency communication systems while further advancing Federal SAFECOMM guidelines and the NY Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan.

Seamless communication across county and agency lines decreases response times and allows emergency responders across the state to interact with one another simply by switching to the proper shared radio frequency. While open communication is an important aspect of interoperability, the assessment, development and formalization of governance structures and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is paramount in creating a system that best serves the people of New York. This type of standardized communication system is pivotal considering that New York State has the highest number of local law enforcement agencies and officers in the country.

BBI provides a team of professional researchers, analysts and students to work with the professionals at Onondaga County E911 in a collaborative developmental capacity. The project will result in policies that align with state and national interoperability standards, while promoting more consideration, access and inclusion of first responders, support agencies, and the whole community. Diana M Foote, Director of Operations & Business Manager and Joseph V. Treglia, Ph.D. are the project leads from BBI.

BBI reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities, and brings to this project a focus on policy and legal issues impacting society generally and those with disabilities. The need for inclusion in consideration of public safety communications systems is an important area for attention and change. The institute is grateful for its inclusion on the project and of Onondaga County’s continued commitment to be a leader in the new age of emergency communications.