The Council maintained its ongoing efforts in providing 9-1-1 services in its 11 county region, State Planning Region 20 during calendar year 2018. This work was accomplished with funding for a two-year period under a contract with the Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC). The Council has been involved in regional 9-1-1 planning and implementation since the late 1980s. This was in response to legislation passed by the Texas Legislature initially in 1987 and re-codified in 1989. Enhanced 9-1-1 became fully operational in the Coastal Bend Region in 1992. During the past year, both regionally and statewide, steps are being taken towards Next Generation 9-1-1 and having connectivity statewide for the regional efforts. In 2018, there remained only 21 of the 24 Regional Planning Commissions and/or Councils of Government in the State 9-1-1 program. The Capitol Area Council of Government became a 9-1-1 district in 2014 and the Houston Galveston Area Council became a self-standing 9-1-1 district in 2016. The North Central Texas Council of Governments became a district in early December 2018.
During the entire twelve months of 2018, the Council functioned under two strategic plan years: the FY 2018 Strategic Plan and Budget (January 1, 2018 through August 31, 2018). The first 8 months were under the FY2018 portion and the 2019 Strategic Plan in the remaining 4 months. The CSEC contracts for a two-year period with the current strategic plan beginning September 1, 2017 and ending on August 31, 2019.
The Council’s 9-1-1 Program operates under a Strategic Plan Budget covering two state fiscal years (biennium). The new biennium started September 1, 2017, The wireline and wireless service fees ($0.50 per wireline service connection and cell phone) fund the Strategic Plan Budgets. These fees are collected by telephone service providers and are submitted to the State Comptroller. The collected service fees are appropriated back to the Councils of Government by the legislature and distributed back to the regional planning commissions/councils of government by formula developed by the CSEC.
The Council is responsible for 17 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in its regional 9-1-1 plan as well as working with the state and the region under a contract for services between the Commission on State Emergency Communications and the Council. Because Corpus Christi METROCOM answers 9-1-1 calls outside of Corpus Christi and in rural Nueces County, the state dictates that we have 18 PSAPs. Also, 9-1-1 service fees are collected by telco providers in rural Nueces County and sent to the Comptroller, no funding is provided by the Council for METROCOM operations. We are required to monitor METROCOM operations one per year. The Council 9-1-1 program is required to monitor the other 17 PSAPs once per quarter and submit any findings to the CSEC in every quarterly performance report.
There are 3 Emergency Municipal Service Districts within the Coastal Bend Region that are not included under the Coastal Bend Regional 9-1-1 Network. Those are the City of Corpus Christi (METROCOM), the City of Portland and the City of Aransas Pass who provide 9-1-1 services to their citizens as dictated by their individual charters under which service fees are established and collected.
Every two years, the Council executes interlocal agreements with all entities, cities and counties that provide 9-1-1 services (have a designated Public Safety Answering Point, PSAP) within a police department or sheriff’s office. All entities must comply including Nueces County within METROCOM. Performance criteria for each PSAP are included in the agreements. The most current interlocal agreements were executed in August 2017. New interlocals will need to be executed in August 2019.
Under the CSEC contract the Council has for 9-1-1 services in this region, 9 performance measures are used to monitor performance. These include number of PSAPs with wireless ANI, number of PSAPs with wireless ALI, total number of 9-1-1 calls, wireless calls as a percentage of total 9-1-1 calls, number of PSAPs with equipment replaced, number of 9-1-1 network outages, percentage of total dollar value of purchasing awarded to historically underutilized businesses, regional Emergency Services IP network (ESInet) services, and state ESInet services. All of the Coastal Bend Region’s PSAPs are both wireless ANI (Phase I) and wireless ALI (Phase II) capable. The Council does have a regional ESInet system under CSEC definition.
The region has two host PSAPs that are connected to 15 remote PSAPs. Voice and data can be shared between the PSAPs. The Council on an annual basis also exceeded its goal for the percentage of total dollar value of purchasing and contracts awarded to historically underutilized businesses (HUBs). PSAP monitoring was done quarterly in 2018 at all of the PSAPs each quarter. A total of 72 PSAP 9-1-1 monitoring visits were made during Calendar Year 2018. During 2018, the total number of 9-1-1 calls to the PSAPs in the Council plan year equaled 157,464. Of these, 141,292 were calls from wireless phones (cell phones). That is, 89.73% of 9-1-1 calls came from cell phones.
The capability to have Text to 9-1-1 evolved during 2017 with implementation, training, testing and acceptance in late November and early December. At least 2 real text to 911 have happened as of late December 2017. During 2018, 626 Text to 9-1-1 calls were received at the PSAPs. Most of these were test calls to make sure the system was working.