National 911 Program Coordinator Announces 2021 Retirement Plan
July 15, 2021
Today the Office of Emergency Medical Services at the U.S. Department of
Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
announced that Laurie Flaherty, the National 911 Program’s Coordinator, will
retire at the end of this calendar year.
Before joining the NHTSA Office of EMS, Laurie worked as an emergency,
trauma and flight nurse for more than 20 years. When the National 911
Program was created in 2005, she was tapped to coordinate efforts to help
strengthen 911 emergency communications systems across the nation. Over
the years, much of her work has involved collaborating with other federal
agencies and national, state, and local organizations to implement Next
Generation 911, a digital infrastructure that will increase the resilience of the
nation’s 911 system.
“We are greatly in debt to Laurie for her initiative and commitment to the 911
Program from its inception," said Dr. Jon Krohmer, Director of NHTSA’s Office
of EMS. "In preparation for the end of her service to the 911 community with
the National 911 Program, we have put a transition plan in place. With support
from existing staff, we expect that the good work the Program commenced
under Laurie’s stewardship – and in collaboration with the national 911
community – will continue.”
Throughout Laurie’s tenure, the National 911 Program has coordinated with the
911 community and a variety of federal agencies to tackle several key
initiatives such as:
* Implementing 911 grant programs and supporting information sharing
about other funding opportunities
* Collecting and utilizing 911 data that has helped support the
development of model 911 legislation and policy to advance emergency
* Collaborating with states, technology providers, public safety officials,
and 911 professionals to create and share a variety of resources and
tools to ensure a smooth transition to NG911 and help 911 systems take
advantage of new communications technologies
Additionally, Laurie has been highly successful at creating awareness about
911 at the federal level, both in representing 911’s interests and in helping
departments like the U.S. Department of Defense to make progress toward
both optimal 911 services and NG911.
“Her strong leadership competencies – relationship building, communication,
problem solving and decision making – have been extremely effective for the
role she’s played,” said Krohmer.
Brian Fontes, CEO of the National Emergency Number Association, agrees.
“Laurie has done – and continues to do – an outstanding job as head of the 911
Program,” said Fontes. “The Program has come to prominence under her
leadership through facilitating discussions and agreements on 911 issues,
masterfully conducting grant programs, and issuing reports useful to all in the
911 and public safety community.”
As a champion for 911, Laurie's skill as a convener and collaborator has been
widely recognized and appreciated.
Kelli Merriweather of the Texas Commission on State Emergency
Communications and president of the National Association of State 911
Administrators stated, "Laurie has been an exceptional advocate for 911
throughout her career, and 911 programs and the people who support them
across the country have greatly benefited from her dedication and vision for
911 and now NG911. She will be missed more than we can say, but she leaves
the 911 community stronger and well prepared for the future."
After nearly 20 years of service in NHTSA’s efforts to support emergency
communication, public safety and pre-hospital healthcare, Laurie credits much
of the successes of the Program to the guidance and support of the many
dedicated and focused 911 professionals she has had the pleasure to know, in
both public and private sectors.
“I am grateful for the individuals and organizations who have been such
wonderful colleagues and friends, as we have worked together to improve 911
systems nationwide,” said Flaherty. “This is especially true of the DOT’s
support, which – absent any mandate – established a track record of more than
15 years of discretionary funding and staffing, exclusively for 911 issues. That
commitment created a single federal home for 911 issues that will last beyond
any single person’s career.”