John M. Merklinger, director of the Rochester/Monroe County 911 center and 311 call center, is the recipient of The Monitoring Association’s 2017 Public Sector Award. This special honor is given by TMA in recognition of a public sector individual’s contribution to the alarm industry. He will be presented with the award at the 2017 Electronic Security Expo (ESX) Public Sector Luncheon on Friday, June 16, at Music City Center in Nashville.  

“It is our pleasure to recognize John for his tireless efforts to advance the implementation of ASAP — the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol — in New York State,” said TMA President Pamela J. Petrow. ASAP is a technology that automates communication between alarm monitoring central stations and 911 centers, resulting in improved accuracy and speed of emergency response.

The award recipient must be nominated by one or more TMA members in good standing. TMA President Petrow and Past President (and current Executive Director) Jay Hauhn put Merklinger’s name forward for consideration. 

“New York State was projected to be one of the last states to implement ASAP due to the state’s unique IT infrastructure,” Hauhn said. “Merklinger, who understood the value ASAP would bring to his center, spearheaded an effort by New York PSAPs to work with the state police to have the needed changes to the state CJIS network funded, scheduled and successfully completed.”

Merklinger manages a staff of 246 employees and an annual budget of $17.6 million at the 911 center. The 911 center handled nearly 1.3 million calls in 2016 (the 311 call center handled 484,844 calls in 2016). The center is accredited by CALEA and the NYS Sheriffs’ Association.       

Merklinger has an extensive public safety background as a paramedic, volunteer firefighter and employee at the Monroe County 911 center for the last 30 years. He has three A.A.S degrees from Monroe Community College in public safety communications, criminal justice and paramedicine. He also has a B.S. in organizational management and an M.S. degree in management from Robert’s Wesleyan College. A past fire chief, he is a life member of Gates Volunteer Ambulance since 1980 and a life member of the Gates Fire Department since 1991. He is past-president of the NYS NENA Chapter and currently serves as president of the NYS 911 Coordinators Association. Merklinger was appointed by Governor Cuomo to the NYS 911 board in 2011 and remains a member of the board.   

“We are proud to be the first PSAP in NYS to go live with the ASAP protocol,” Merklinger said.  “We believe this will be a benefit to the public and the public safety organizations by providing quicker entry and response to alarm-generated emergencies.”

The ASAP program is based on an American National Standard developed jointly by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International and TMA, then the Central Station Alarm Association. The program provides a standardized method through the use of automation and the power of Nlets to deliver alarm notifications to 911 public safety answering points.