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November 9-11, 2021
Pentagon City SheratonD.C. Metro Area

Karima Holmes
Director, Office of Unified Communications at Government of the District of Columbia


Karima Holmes was appointed by Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to serve as the Director of the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) in January 2016. A seasoned public safety professional and recognized thought leader, Ms. Holmes started her career on the front line as a communications officer and quickly rose up through the ranks to serve as the executive director at PSAPs in large metropolitan areas in the states of Georgia and Texas, before accepting her position in the District. At the OUC, Ms. Holmes has overhauled the technical infrastructure, software platforms and critical programs, thereby evolving the District’s PSAP into an entity poised to embrace NG911/311 advancements. Highlights of this evolution include a complete telephony system upgrade, introduction of Text-to-911, the implementation of the criteria based dispatching protocol and a complete overhaul and refresh of all 311 platforms. A hallmark of her tenure with the OUC is the fortification of collaborative relationships with nearly 30 local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the deployment of the PSAP’s cache of 8,000 radios for major National Special Security Events (NSSE) such as the 2017 Presidential Inauguration and multiple State of the Union Addresses, to site a few examples. Responsible for supporting the Secret Service and all presidential movements, while maintaining radio interoperability with public safety entities across the National Capital Region, the OUC handled a combined 3.1 million 911 and 311 calls and 12 million push-to-talk radio transmissions in 2019. Ms. Holmes has both a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Homeland Security, as well. She also holds an Emergency Number Professional (ENP) Certification from the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and is a Registered Public Safety Leader (RPL) with the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO). Director Holmes also currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) 911 Directors Committee and as the District of Columbia’s state representative with the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA). In October 2019, Karima Holmes was appointed to the FirstNet Authority Board by United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Selected for her public safety expertise and substantive technical experience, in this role Ms. Holmes supports the development and operation of the country's first nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to first responders.