Karima Holmes is a seasoned public safety professional, recognized 9-1-1 industry thought leader, and renowned public speaker. Ms. Holmes started her career on the front line as a communications officer and quickly rose through the ranks to serve as the executive director at PSAPs in large metropolitan areas in the states of Georgia and Texas, before being appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser to serve as the Executive Director of Washington DC’s PSAP, the Office of Unified Communications. While in this role she also served 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).
Over the course of her career, Ms. Holmes has led efforts to overhaul the technical infrastructure, software platforms and critical programs of PSAPs across the nation, evolving them into entities poised to embrace NG911/311 advancements. Her specific expertise includes the upgrade of enhanced 9-1-1 telephony systems, the integration of direct data link technical solutions, coordination of the revision of first responder deployment plans, and the integration of enhanced emergency dispatching protocols.
Adept at professional networking, she leveraged her deep industry experience to establish and maintain relationships with local and federal law enforcement agencies in every jurisdiction in which she has served. Particularly notable was her oversight of the District’s deployment of its cache of 8,000 radios for major National Special Security Events (NSSE) including the 2017 and 2020 Presidential Inaugurations and multiple State of the Union Addresses, to cite a few examples. During her time in Washington, DC, she was also responsible for supporting the Secret Service and all presidential movements, while maintaining radio interoperability with public safety entities across the National Capital Region. Under her leadership there, the PSAP handled a combined total of 15.5 million 911 and 311 calls and 60 million push-to-talk radio transmissions.
Ms. Holmes has a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a Master 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). In addition, she is currently a participant in the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) Executive Leaders Program, which she expects to complete later this year.
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.
More recently Ms. Holmes was invited to join the 911der Women Inc. Board as the organization’s Treasurer. 911der Women Inc. is a nonprofit organization created to ensure that women are empowered to contribute significantly to the public safety industry and push through roadblocks in pursuit of their goals. Her affiliation with this nonprofit is particularly meaningful to her, as she is passionate about supporting pathways to career advancement, leadership, and personal growth for other women.
Karima Holmes, Instructor Kim Turner, LLC
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