News & Press: IJIS Institute Press Releases

Steve Souder Receives the 2018 IJIS Institute Shumate Award

Monday, February 26, 2018  
Posted by: Andrea Walter
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The IJIS Institute is pleased to announce that Steve Souder is the recipient of the organization’s Robert P. Shumate National Public Safety and Justice Contributor to Excellence Award. The award was presented at the IJIS Institute’s Badge & Tech Benefit & Awards Dinner on February 7, 2018, in Arlington, Virginia.

Steve Souder, who became known unofficially as Mr. 9-1-1, is a nationally recognized leader and authority on 9-1-1 and public safety communications. Souder’s leadership has had an impact over the past 64 years not only on the entire National Capital Region, where he served in four public safety communications centers, but also nationally.

Beginning his public safety communications with a bang, Souder’s first day as a dispatcher was April 4, 1968, the day Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed and DC erupted in flames. Souder eventually retired as director of one of the largest public safety communications centers in the U.S., Fairfax County (VA) Department of Public Safety Communications. Before that, he was director of the Montgomery County (MD) 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center, and prior to that, he served as director of the Arlington County (VA) 9-1-1 Public Safety Communications Center.

Souder is closely associated with championing the deployment of state-of-the-art technology. Under his leadership, the Fairfax County call center was one of the first in the nation to implement text to 9-1-1 and upgrade to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911). Souder’s tireless efforts and knowledge led the way for other communications centers in the region, and the nation, to adopt technologies that improved delivery of public safety services to communities.

Souder is a fifth-generation firefighter by trade, who also spent 43 years fighting fires in the Coast Guard Reserve. A New Jersey native, Steve started his public safety service as a firefighter in the District of Columbia where he served for 18 years.

The Robert P. Shumate National Public Safety and Justice Contributor to Excellence Award, named for the first president of the IJIS Institute, is presented annually by the Institute to the person from either industry or the public sector who made the most valuable contribution to justice and public safety information sharing. For more information about the Shumate Award, please visit http://www.ijis.org/?page=Awards.