The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, International has criticized a National Emergency Number Association recommendation that the Federal Communications Commission relax its mandate that calls for wireless carriers using handset-based enhanced 911 (E911) technology be 95% Phase II-compliant by the end of next year. The recommendation was contained in NENA’s Strategic Wireless Action Team (SWAT) report, which was issued February 5.

APCO believes the ability to provide Phase II E911 services is directly related to the replacement of old handsets with new models that have location capabilities. The association wants the FCC to stick to its mandate and hold wireless carriers accountable, according to Wanda McCarley, APCO second vice president. “Failure to do so would be an injustice not only to the public and the PSAPs, but also to those carriers who are currently meeting these requirements,” McCarley said in a statement.

SWAT was launched in November 2002 to study the state of wireless E911 nationwide and to recommend steps to speed its deployment. The report predicted that only half of all public-safety answering points (PSAPs) will have the ability to locate wireless callers “with any precision” by the end of 2005, due to technical, policy and funding problems have slowed deployments.

In related news, David Jones, NENA second vice president and director of emergency services for Spartanburg County, S.C., has been named to the FCC’s Intergovernmental Advisory Board on E911. Also named was Jenny Hansen, manager of the public-safety services office for the State of Montana, and a NENA member.

Finally, NENA will hold its annual “911 goes to Washington” event next week (Feb. 23-24) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. FCC Chairman Michael Powell is scheduled to speak on the future of 911 services. Also expected to participate are members of the Congressional E911 Caucus, representatives of public-safety organizations and E911 technology vendors.