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Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications

2023 Department/Component Goals/Objectives


1. Support Onondaga County’s priorities of: reducing the rate of poverty; investing in our infrastructure; and creating a climate that encourages economic development.

    a. Provide annual call taker refresher in-service training regarding the CNY 2-1-1 source and promote its utility as a resource to connect residents reaching out to E911 for assistance in obtaining basic resources such as food, shelter, employment, or health care.

    b. Adapt to new public satisfaction surveys via text message and maintain exceptional customer satisfaction ratings >4 (scale of 1-5) in all categories.

    c. Improve the rate of return from our public satisfaction surveys. Average of return in 2022 was 8% with mail-ins. Aiming for >30% via text message.

2. The E911 Center and all communications support systems (radio) are 100% reliable.

    a. Conduct monthly inspections of all tower sites and document findings. Correct deficiencies, report them to the appropriate County department, or service vendor.

    b. Conduct weekly operational inspections of the Master and Prime Site equipment and ensure that updates and file maintenance is performed as required by the vendor.

    c. Conduct bi-annual tower inspections, to include climbing of the towers by the contracted tower maintenance vendor. Document findings and repair deficiencies immediately.

    d. Ensure that portable radio ID lists are updated regularly by public safety agencies.

    e. Ensure that authorized service vendors in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and good engineering practice conduct periodic infrastructure equipment preventative maintenance.

    f. Ensure that hardware and software updates/patches are performed as necessary and in a timely manner.

    g. Ensure that system infrastructure equipment problems and failures are being detected in a timely manner and are being appropriately addressed by service vendors.

    h. Continue to evaluate the cyber threat potential to our systems and recommend actions when necessary.

    i. Maintain the integrity of system code plugs and the programming of subscriber units by securely maintaining the master and ensuring that authorized programmers have access to the most recent code plugs and are programming only authorized templates. Require all programming vendors and radio shop key holders to sign a programming agreement.

    j. Continue project to refresh all templates on all Onondaga County Interoperable Communications System (OCICS) radios. That is approximately 10,700 portable and mobile radios used by police (5,500), fire (3,000), EMS (500) and other County departments (1,700).

3. Calls for assistance are answered, processed and dispatched consistent with best practices and department values.

    a. Answer at a minimum 90 percent of all incoming 9-1-1 emergency calls within ten seconds of connection.

    b. Answer 95% of all other 9-1-1 calls within 20 seconds or less.

    c. Work with Syracuse-Onondaga County Planning Agency (SOCPA) to update GIS data sets (CAD and MDT mapping) as new information becomes available.

    d. Maintain Compliance with all APCO Training Standards

    e. Maintain compliance with all applicable CALEA Public Safety Communications standards. Successfully complete year two compliance review (March 2023)

    f. Continue to improve upon the quality assurance/quality improvement program to include meeting the new APCO/NENA QA/QI standards.

4. Operations achieve the highest degree of public safety and public confidence.


a. Complete the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) to include plans for “roll over” call taking provisions, accommodating extended employee “holdovers,” and recovery/return to normalcy.

b. Continue work on the EOP (Emergency Operations Plan) where it relates to the COOP and Pandemic plan.

c. Provide a concentrated public education effort focused on informing the public on our call-taking procedures, including emergency medical dispatch (EMD) to better educate the public on what to expect when calling 9-1-1 so as to alleviate concerns regarding questioning.

d. Develop and implement a protocol regarding the use of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) in Onondaga County. Work with Emergency Management as needed.

e. Provide a concentrated public education effort in conjunction with Emergency Management on all notification systems, protocols, and procedures

f. Analyze customer questions regarding EMD protocol and implement an efficient and effective proactive response to reduce customer misunderstandings via public education.

g. Reduce the number of internal/external complaints by 1% leveraging timely QA/QI reviews with employees.

5. Operational and support services meet the operational needs of member public safety agencies.

a. Continue to encourage dispatch agencies to assign personnel to observe floor operations as part of academy and in-service training.

b. Implement agency response plan changes in less than 30 days.

c. Work with partner agencies to implement revised Crisis Intervention response to ensure appropriate resources and response is provided to the community.

d. Work with NYS DHSES GIS division to improve regional data that is being used to build the out-of-county parts of Onondaga’s CAD map.

e. Continue Nurse Navigation system (low acuity medical call diversion system).

6. All employees are knowledgeable and possess the requisite skills and abilities that allow them to complete their job tasks efficiently and effectively to the highest level of expectation.


a. Provide a minimum of 24 hours of annual in-service training for all personnel.

b. Continue to participate in disaster preparedness and critical response (e.g., active shooter) meetings and exercises.

c. Continue to provide verbal judo training for all newly hired call takers and dispatchers.

d. Maintain 911 Call Center Partnership Program Recognition from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

e. Ensure all employees receive annual refresher training in NCMEC for handling calls regarding missing and exploited children.

f. Maintain APCO certification for all Communications Training Officers (CTOs).

g. Provide professional development and succession planning for the future leaders and specialists of the department.

h. Achieve a new hire retention success of 75%.

i. Provide radio system refresher training for dispatch personnel to include topics such as failsoft, site trunking, patching, and uses of interoperable talk groups, subscriber radio templates/operation, and handling radio system anomalies.

j. Identify effective and cost effective technical training to maintain knowledge and skills in the field of information technology, trunked LMR, microwave transport, and RF practices.

k. Provide cross-training opportunities relating to the GIS and mapping function.

l. Update Incident Dispatch Team (IDT) members to the current NIMS standards i.e., I-100c and IC-800c).

m. Provide map familiarity and location entry training for our employees throughout the year. This would be in addition to the annual GIS Day activities which offer indirect training via the GIS quiz.

n. Identify management and support positions that may experience turnover in the coming years and develop a succession plan to ensure continuity of operations.

o. Provide cross-training opportunities within the Technical Services and Radio divisions to improve capabilities of on-call technicians and provide staffing flexibility.

p. Develop a list of common technical issues and the priority of response requested to reduce unnecessary after-hour tech staff notifications/call-ins.

7. Technology is strategically acquired, implemented, and utilized to improve customer service and assist personnel in accomplishing their work more effectively and efficiently.

a. With upgrade to Hexagon CAD system version 9.4, continue to make improvements to system and better workflows for dispatchers.

b. Review hardware and software systems in place and determine need and value. Develop a lifecycle plan to be considered in 2023-2028 capital improvement planning.

c. Continue to work with New York State on the development of an ESI Net and core services to support implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG-911).

d. Prepare for potential future NG911 GIS requirements; for example, Z-Axis (elevation) data in the ANI-ALI of wireless 911 calls.

8. Work with our Central New York Interoperable Communications Consortium (CNYICC) partners to explore cost sharing opportunities that would result in more cost effective, consistent, and efficient services to our communities.

a. Continue to participate on the CNYICC and applicable subcommittees: Executive, Technical, Networking, and GIS/Mapping.

b. Continue to provide radio system administration support to CNYICC counties as requested.

c. Continue to invite CNYICC counties to participate in our training programs (e.g., CTO) when applicable.

d. Participate, along with CNYICC county GIS personnel, in the NYS 911 Coordinators NextGen 911 GIS workgroup.

9. Seek operating efficiencies in an effort to control costs necessary to remain within the 2023 Onondaga County Department of Emergency Communications budget as modified (BAM), especially in the area of personnel costs.

a. Control overtime expenses by filling position vacancies as soon as practical when authorized with the goal of achieving our authorized/funded strength by the end of 2023.

b. Develop a plan to address the impact of anticipated retirements in 2023.

c. Achieve a new hire retention success rate of at least 75%.

d. Continue to seek federal, state and other grant-funding opportunities.

e. Work with all service contract vendors to ensure that annual increases remain within operating budget and tax cap limitations.

10. Grow our workforce. Maintain organizational effectiveness while under a labor shortage.

a. Fill as many PST and PSDs externally as possible within civil service and training capacity constraints.

b. Promote employees to Dispatcher and Supervisory status as vacancies and opportunities occur.

c. Renew emphasis on recruitment by devoting a group of employees to community engagement.

d. Research retention strategies in collaboration with APCO best practices, NYS and county partners.

11. Build workplace culture based on trust, positivity, and accountability.

a. Create 2023 strategy and share with all 911 Center employees.

b. Review Priorities and sub-priorities for 2022 and adjust for 2023.

c. Seek opportunities for 911 employees to lead and participate in agency priorities.

d. Reiterate expectations for all leaders, admin and operational staff throughout year and assess improvements at end of 2023.

12. Sustain COVID-19 protocols if necessary and sustain recovery from the organizational effects of COVID-19.

a. Follow the direction of the CDC, NY State DOH, and County DOH guidelines for COVID-19 safety precautions.

b. Build on in-person training success in 2022, pursue potential for virtual learning when needed, and continue to emphasize training standards and expectations of the department.

c. Re-engage with community and partners for outreach and education of Onondaga 911.


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