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      • ASTRO’s 25th Anniversary Year in Review And Predictions For the Future

        Published 32 days ago by Geoff Hobar
        • Law Enforcement

        Fire.jpgWow!  2016, what a year! For 25 years, ASTRO has continually evolved to meet the changing needs of its users. Today’s ASTRO 25 is an all-IP platform with COTS hardware running highly secure and reliable software. For the past year, this 25th anniversary blog series highlighted some of the features requested by our customers, told by the insiders who helped make them a reality.

        In our January blog, we predicted LTE and broadband would continue to have an influence on the industry. FirstNet, now on the verge of becoming a reality in the U.S., has changed the conversation of public safety communications. The need for interoperability between Land Mobile Radio and mobile broadband has become clear. We also predicted the continued growth of services throughout the year, and ASTRO 25 has met that with the introduction of the simplified services packages which include the new converged MyView portal.

        Emphasizing how much our world has changed, the early 2016 blogs talked about interoperability and data, topics that were not top of mind 25 years ago. We discussed how to keep your system operating at peak performance and then moved into exciting new features that are now part of our 25th-anniversary software release.

        Looking toward 2017, we expect to see data taking a larger role, particularly in public safety and ASTRO 25 will continue to evolve. FirstNet will provide more access to data which will then drive change for first responders as well as dispatch. We will see more software-enabled features which will allow ASTRO 25 to respond more rapidly to the changing market. We expect to see the continued growth of services as solutions become defined by outcome more than simply by the delivery of features.

        I want to end 2016 with a big thank you to the MTUG (Motorola Trunked User Group) organization for their continued feedback. User feedback provides valuable input and helps set the direction of ASTRO 25. This has always been a big help to us in making sure that ASTRO 25 continues to be an effective mission-critical platform.

        Happy 25th birthday ASTRO 25, and many more!

        Learn more about ASTRO 25 at

        Geoff Hobar is ASTRO Business Operations Manager at Motorola Solutions. 

      • 4 Ways to Maximize Time During the Busy PSAP Season

        Published 43 days ago by Josie Slaughter

        We are all busy people. We understand the need to make every minute count. A quick search of Google turns up advice on how to maximize the minute to: train for a triathlon, make the most of a vacation, teach in a classroom, improve brain power, start an exercise program, enjoy the holidays and so on.
        Holiday Tips to Maximize Time
        Based on Forbes, some suggestions for maximizing time during the holidays:

        -Break down goals into steps

        -Know when to say no

        -Be present

        -Don’t worry about other commitments

        -Above all enjoy nurturing social times

        Agencies need to Maximize the Minute, Too
        When responding to a cry for help from the citizens there are several ways to make the most of every minute.



        1. Capture citizen inputs efficiently
        2. Dispatch the right resources to the right places
        3. Access information in the field for effective response
        4. Wrap up an incident and record relevant information

        Capture citizen inputs efficiently

        Agencies need to start by capturing citizen information more efficiently. Today 70% of citizens are using cellular phones to make calls to 9-1-11.

        With over 240 million calls to 9-1-1 every year, this means about 170 million calls are coming in from cell phones or smart devices. As citizens use cell phones as their primary communication device, they also believe they should be able to text to 9-1-1

        Dispatch the right resources to the right places

        Information is no longer just a verbal message. It now involves identifying the closest available resources, receiving inputs from 9-1-1 finding relevant historical data based on an incident location and sharing that information quickly to the field.

        Access information in the field for effective response

        Most first responders have computers in their vehicles to receive information from the dispatch center quicker however to maximize response applications need to extend beyond the vehicle. Applications are a mainstay to doing their job right, says 67% of respondents to a 2016 Policeone survey. When an officer leaves the vehicle, information needs to follow as well.

        Wrap up an incident and record relevant information

        Once a perpetrator is caught, the responding officer has multiple processes to complete before actually booking an offender. This can be a laborious task, often requiring the officer to spend hours in the station house but with an automate the booking process- the workflow can be condensed.

        Making every second count, requires a software platform that is designed specifically for public safety with a seamless flow of information at every step along the incident response work stream. From the moment a call comes into 9-1-1, agencies need tools that quickly go to work sharing information in less than five keystrokes with dispatch where the right resources are identified, plotted on a map and quickly dispatched to the scene of an incident. This seamless flow of information between call taking and dispatch can save critical seconds when time is most critical.

        New PremierOne software updates are now available to help maximize the four stages of incident mangement and workflow efficiencies.


        Josie Slaughter is the Senior Global Marketing Manager, Smart Public Safety Solutions for Motorola Solutions

      • 5 Things You Didn’t Know About ASTRO 25

        Published 43 days ago by Jim McDonell

        ASTRO 25 API Suite7.pngYou may already know that ASTRO 25 systems support a number of P25 standard interfaces that allow it to connect to other P25 compliant systems, consoles and radios. But did you know that ASTRO 25 also has a variety of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allows software to interact and even control portions of the system?

        With APIs, you have access to new and innovative applications offered by our application developer community. API’s allow you to share data across technologies, thereby increasing collaboration with broadband users and other organizations. Our application developer community gives you the ability to select from applications with functional use for many agencies or a customized solution to meet a specific requirement.

        What APIs are available for ASTRO 25?

        1. Radio Control APIs enable an application to control the functionality of the radio. For example, radio control might be useful for an application that needs to ensure everyone in a defined area is on the same talkgroup.
        2. Console APIs provide a high-level interface for dispatcher and voice logging applications. Using these interfaces, console functions can be integrated into other applications to provide the ability to support a customized user interface.
        3. Network APIs provide access to a variety of network configuration, performance and fault data. These APIs could be used to consolidate your disparate network management systems into a Manager of Managers (MoM) that can correlate alarms and events to provide a single view of the performance of all your systems.
        4. Data APIs enable software applications to use the ASTRO 25 system as an IP data pipe. The spectrum efficient narrow band channel is ideal for the transfer of small files and short bursts of data such as license plate lookups, text and GPS location.
        5. Convergence Suite APIs extend the reach of applications beyond ASTRO 25 to include broadband by utilizing our Convergence Suite of API's. Cross platform applications can take advantage of integrated API’s for Location and Mapping, Group Management, Messaging, Context and Security to make use of data over a wider population of users.

        Through the use of ASTRO 25 and Convergence Suite of APIs, software developers can create innovative applications to solve the unique needs of an individual organization or capitalize on the ASTRO 25 network to provide value based applications.

        Learn more about ASTRO 25 at
        Learn more about our application developer program at
        Jim McDonell is an ASTRO 25 System Roadmap Manager for Motorola Solutions

      • ‘Tis the season to be stealing!

        Published 43 days ago by Daniel Seals

        Detroit_Project_Greenlight_-8944.jpgEvery holiday season, police departments see the same pattern - shoplifting, entering autos, burglaries, and general theft increase exponentially. This occurs until we ring in the New Year and our “super cop” selves solve all the crimes and lock up all the bad guys causing those crimes to decrease…right? Well, not exactly. Truth is those types of crimes increase because of the seasonal increase in “criminal opportunity”.

        Let me explain. The holiday season gives the criminal a once a year opportunity to prey on our good citizens who are not concerning themselves with safety and security. Instead, they are concerned with running and buying, hustle and bustle, wrapping and cooking…oh yeah, and peace, good
        will and all that other stuff. The criminal element sees this as a special holiday of their own; let’s call it “Stealapalooza”. So, what do we do about it? Same old, same old each year right? Not this year!

        We have all heard that the “greatest indicator of future crime is past criminal patterns”, so let’s use those past patterns to do some good. Even if you don’t have a criminal intelligence division, you surely have someone in your department who likes to dig into your crime data; perhaps it’s that officer who needs a publisher to approve their reports. Sure their over-detailed retelling of removing a cat from a tree has been annoying in the past, but now you can put their endless thirst for detail to good use!

        Start with small focused searches of your high traffic commercial areas, looking for patterns of date and time in your theft reports. Make sure officer
        "ambitious" has access to multiple years of reports and have them compare the past holiday seasons theft reports, week to week. I said week to week, not week by week. What I mean is, compare the same weeks from different years to each other, and don’t compare November to December and so on. Compare December week one year one to December week one year two…apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

        Seeing as you have chosen a paper hound to do this task, I am confident it won’t take them long to identify time of day, day of week patterns in your theft data. But now, what do you do with that data?

        Trust it and the patterns contained in it! Begin to direct your officers to these past patterns, explaining what type of crime was in each pattern and the details surrounding those patterns. The proof will come in your increased arrests, but not only that, the increased officer presence in your newly proven holiday high crime areas will prevent more crime than you realize. (Until after Christmas and you compare this years’ numbers with your previous data.) Empower your officers with real data for real-time crime fighting and help your citizens to have a more peaceful holiday season!

        If you
        see how you can automate this planning process with the advanced data analysis of CommandCentral Analytics and CommandCentral Predictive, make sure to join me for my webinar on November 15th at 12 noon CST. Sign up here.

        DJ Seals is an Industry Expert at Motorola Solutions.

      • To Serve Is Human

        Published 43 days ago by Elizabeth Ogden


        For Mike (known to many asMike the Cop’), it was facing one of his biggest nightmares. It was hearing that his little brother had been shot and killed in the line of duty. It was going home to his four children and explaining to them that their Uncle had paid the ultimate price by laying down his life for a cause. It was helping them navigate a sea of emotions as they came to terms that their own father faced those same risks. It was kissing them goodbye every day after that, praying he would see them again that night.

        For David, it was facing the most unnatural circle of life—hearing that his son had fallen responding to an armed robbery call. It was saying goodbye to a man that was still very much his little boy. It was digging deep within and choosing to take his unique skill set as a counselor and a chaplain to encourage those facing the same heartache and loss that he experienced. It was carrying the honor of his son's onward by helping those who have served along side of him.

        For Juan, it was watching more and more bright young individuals struggle with addiction in his own community. He watched as it took a toll on their friends, their families, and, ultimately, their lives. It was being the father of two kids who he wanted to protect from the same fate of others he had loved. It was working closely with families, local treatment centers, school districts, non-profit organizations and community outreach groups to help educate, encourage, and empower those who have been affected by substance abuse.

        Duty is rising to the occasion regardless of difficulty, fear, comfort and the unknown.

        Humanizing the Badge was founded on the very concept of duty. As the world began to see law enforcement thrown into the broadly painted spotlight of today's society, this organization was founded by people who stood up and refused to play into the course of generalized division. We refuse to play into anger and choose to never let go of the one single element that cannot be ignored—the element of community.

        Duty is more than just running into a burning building or putting yourself in harm’s way to save someone’s life. Humanizing The Badge is a collection of individuals who believe that it’s our duty to love and repair relationships with our communities. Instead of pointing fingers, we’ve decided to roll up our sleeves, to have the hard conversations, to put down our differences to help law enforcement and communities come together as one.

        It hasn't always been easy. Members of our organization have all seen their own struggles and their own hardships. We've experienced significant losses within our own lives that could make most people hang it all up—from sexual abuse, to addiction and depression, to death.

        Life is messy. It's hard, complicated, and ever-changing. Our next breath and the breaths of those we love are never guaranteed. Many things are completely out of our control, but the one thing that we hold in our hands is the power to choose how we respond to tragedy. At a time when we hear about tragedies all too often in the news, when police-community relations seem to be irreparable,

        Humanizing the Badge chooses hope. We choose action and effort. We choose community.

        So what does duty mean for me? It’s the hand of my four-year-old boy that clings to mine, not understanding the pain and evil within this world. It’s his father suiting up every morning in hopes he can leave the world a little better place than he found it. It’s the fear I feel each time he leaves that our son and I might not see him again. And it’s the pride I feel knowing that people like him, Mike, David, Juan, and all those involved in Project Human are out restoring relationships in communities where trust and understanding are more strained than ever.

        Our stories are unique as individuals, but they are exactly the same in one extraordinary way. We never give up. It's our calling. It's our purpose. It's our duty. And we have no choice but to answer it every single time it calls.

        Elizabeth Ogden is the Co-founder of Humanizing The Badge and author of "Dear Officer" and "Not My Burden but My Honor"


        Share your stories using the hashtag #dutyrunsdeep Learn more at

      • Comfort For Their Sorrow: Serving The Survivors Of Fallen Firefighters

        Published 43 days ago by Ronald Siarnicki
        • Fire

        Albert “Foxie” was a member of the Blauvelt Volunteer Fire Company for 31 years, working his way through the ranks to Chief. On his 11th wedding anniversary, he led his wife Cathy and their two young sons out of a fire to safety. He went back to save another son but neither made it out and died in the line of duty on October 26‚ 1996.

        When Cathy, the wife of “Foxie” found herself grieving and wondering where to turn, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) was there to support her and her sons. Now Cathy and her sons are able to give back to others who walk a similar path.

        It was stories like these that the United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort in honoring the memories of all U.S. firefighters who died in the line of duty and to provide support to their loved ones.

        As part of this mission, each October the Foundation hosts - the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend as a tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. The survivors of those being honored meet others who have walked the path a little longer and understand their grief in a way many may not. Through weekend activities, they find reassurance that their loved ones will not be forgotten and they have a place to find comfort and compassion.

        Beyond the Memorial Weekend, the NFFF helps families with similar experiences and interests find each other through the Survivors Network. Recognizing that children need and deserve special attention, the NFFF introduced the Hal Bruno Camp For Children of Fallen Fighters in partnership with Comfort Zone Camp. This free weekend bereavement camp allows children to share their stories, learn skills to manage their loss and provides time to reflect and remember their parent in a positive, fun and nurturing environment.

        “Everyone grieves differently and in their own way, but ultimately, our feelings are universal,” one camper explained. “The Hal Bruno Camp can help you. You don’t have to share your story, but if you do, it is healing in a way that these people at the camp ‘get it’.”

        Over the years, the Foundation realized that the best way to honor the fallen and support their families is to work with all branches of the fire service to reduce line-of-duty deaths and injuries. And so the NFFF’s mission has expanded.

        In 2004, the first Firefighter Life Safety Summit was held in Tampa, Florida to address a need to reduce the number of preventable line-of-duty deaths. More than 200 fire service and industry leaders worked together to develop the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives.

        Out of those initiatives, the NFFF created the Everyone Goes Home® program, which provides free resources, materials and training opportunities to our nation’s firefighters that underscore the importance of accepting responsibility for one’s health and safety.

        In addition, the Foundation has provided funding for research that examines coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes prevention. The NFFF also regularly sponsors meetings and summits to address evolving needs of the fire service community, such as cancer prevention and behavioral health issues.

        When a tragedy strikes in the community – day or night – firefighters respond without hesitation to protect and save the lives of others. Duty Runs Deep.

        When tragedy strikes in the fire service – and a firefighter dies in the line of duty – it is our mission to respond- to bring comfort and hope in the midst of sorrow and pain.

        Help us honor those who have fallen and share your stories using the hashtag #dutyrunsdeep and the Motorola Solutions Foundation will donate $1 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.


        Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki is the Executive Director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.


        Watch the video of this years memorial event


        Learn more at

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