FRESH IDEAS IN PUBLIC SAFETY


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      • Join APCO's Narrowbanding Webcast on June 5

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:17 PM by Motorola Solutions

        The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has long emphasized its commitment to the January 1, 2013, deadline for migration to narrowband technology. The mandate has been in place for more than 10 years, and I have been doing outreach on this subject for more than two years. Yet at this moment, more than 45,000 public safety call signs remain wideband only.

        VHF/UHF licensees that anticipate the need for additional time beyond the January 1, 2013, deadline must request a waiver. The FCC will subject these requests to a high level of scrutiny. Licensees who fail to seek a waiver and remain wideband face sanctions, including admonishment, monetary forfeitures and/or license revocation. Yes, public safety agencies could lose their license to operate radio systems.

        In the June 5 webcast, "Don't Procrastinate … The FCC's Narrowband Deadline Is Almost Here!," among the topics I will discuss will be what waiver requests should contain and what an enforcement action entails.

        Please join us on June 5 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT when I and Steve Makky, staff engineer of APCO-AFC, will be discussing these and other narrowbanding questions. Learn more about this free webcast and register now.

        Roberto Mussenden is an Attorney-Advisor in the Policy and Licensing Division of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

      • Honoring our Fallen Police Officers is a Real Honor

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:17 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Every year in May, more than 20,000 law enforcement officers come together in Washington, DC, at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to honor those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, having been killed in the line of duty. More than 3,000 family survivors participated in the Candlelight Vigil this spring.

        I have attended many vigils since 1991, when the Memorial was first dedicated by President George H. W. Bush. This year, however, was truly special as I had the honor – along with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and FBI Director Robert Mueller – of reading the names of 362 officers who died in the line of duty, including 163 who died in 2011. These names have been added to the memorial wall.

        Prior to the ceremony, I walked through the Memorial, observing the many items left on the wall by family members and officers from agencies that lost one of their own. The walls seem to come alive with stories of how these officers lived, not just died. Then, as I listened to the words spoken during the ceremony and poignant songs that filled the evening air, I thought of my own family connection to law enforcement. My brother served as a Peace officer for 26 years and is still dedicated to helping others.

        The Vigil was held on Mother’s Day this year and while I wish I could have been home with my own family, I can’t think of a better reason to be away. There are 256 female names on the wall – wives, mothers, daughters – who lost their lives in the line of duty. The children of these brave women will never be able to be with their moms.

        This year, I met Marilyn Craig, the daughter of Cook County, IL Sheriff’s Deputy, William J. Pottow Jr. –one of the names I read – who was killed while pursuing a dangerous suspect on June 6, 1945. She was only 5 ½ months old at the time. Her mother never remarried, and she grew up without knowing the love of a father.

        Earlier in the day, I volunteered to help check-in surviving family members who came to not only attend the Candlelight Vigil, but to continue down the path of healing or to help others to do the same. Visitors to the Memorial can’t help but become emotional at the sacrifices these men and women have made for the safety of our communities.

        As I looked out at the thousands of family members with tears in their eyes being supported by those around them, I thought about how each of us must honor our everyday heroes in our communities.
        We remember the sacrifice our fallen heroes have made, but we also recognize the awesome responsibility, the more than 800,000 law enforcement officers in our country, shoulder each and every day protecting all of us in our communities so that we can enjoy a safe place to live, work, and play.

        So, next time you see a police officer, please thank them for all they do. We at Motorola will continue to dedicate our efforts to enhancing officer safety through mission critical communication systems that can be a lifeline to an officer in trouble so that others, like Marilyn, will not have to wonder if their loved one will come home at the end of their shift.

        Motorola Solutions is a Founding Partner of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and the First Founding Partner of the National Law Enforcement Museum, now being built adjacent to the Memorial.

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        Thousands gathered near the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for the annual candlelight vigil, honoring police who have died in the line of duty. View more images from this year’s tribute here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nleomf/sets/72157629708626224/. (Photo courtesy of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund)

        Dave Weisz manages Law Enforcement/Homeland Security Alliances for Motorola Solutions. He is a member of the NLEOMF Board of Directors and the Concerns of Police Survivors Advisory Council.

      • Trial and Error Works for Golf, Not Mission Critical Systems

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:16 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Trial and error works if you want to improve your golf swing. Trial and error can improve your chances of success in a lot of sports and non-sports related activities. The key is to do it in practice, not during the game where it counts.

        One area that trial and error does not work so well is mission critical communication systems, where lives are at stake and first responders rely on the system as a lifeline. All too often, however, trial and error is the method used when a new third-party application product is introduced onto a public safety agency’s communications system. Sure, the application may be a very cost-effective solution; it may enhance operations and improve investment. But what if the implementation of a new product application doesn’t go as planned? What if it causes project delays? Cost overruns? Has a negative impact on system performance? Or worse yet, it causes an operational failure?

        There is an alternative to "working out the bugs" on a public safety agencies "live" system, or counting on simulation testing. It is testing the applications on an actual live system in a lab environment where it can be tested and tested again until it operates correctly.

        To meet this need, Motorola has established an ASTRO 25 trunked and conventional radio system at the Applications Solutions Center (ASC) in Schaumburg, Illinois, that can be used by third-party suppliers to validate their applications.

        Suppliers can test their applications in a controlled lab environment, make fixes and not be under the pressure of making it work on a live public safety agency’s system. The user benefits because they get an application that’s been tested in a lab and debugged before it’s installed on their system. Motorola Solutions gains because we improve our customers' overall satisfaction.

        Many third-party applications developers have already validated in the lab, including logging recorders, biometrics, diagnostic tool developers, middleware/mobile routers, fire alert systems, and vehicle location mapping. The vendor writes the Test Plan, runs the tests and provides a final test report. The application is integrated into the ASTRO 25 system environment by one of the Motorola lab engineers and a system profile can be run to provide a user/per channel baseline.

        So if you are an application provider to ASTRO 25 systems and are interested in learning more about this program, please contact Bob Holderness at 847-576-0299 to get information about the lab, lab fees or to schedule lab time. It's a way to stop running your trials on a live mission critical system, but keep on improving your golf swing through trial and error.

        Bob Holderness is Principal Program Manager for Motorola Solutions.

      • ALPR Technology Helps Police Catch Kidnappers, Killers

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:16 PM by Motorola Solutions

        When you go to the mall shopping, or run through a park for a little exercise, there is something comforting about seeing police presence. An officer patrolling the parking lot or the perimeter of the park gives us a sense of security because it is usually a good deterrent to crime.

        But most of us think the officer behind the wheel patrolling the neighborhood is just relying on his eyes and ears to alert him to potential trouble. Today many police departments are also relying on a newer technology – Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR) to be an extra set of eyes – a virtual partner to the patrol officer.

        According to a survey conducted last year by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), more than 71 percent of agencies use License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology, which consists of one or more cameras mounted on a squad car or a fixed location such as a bridge, plus the associated software that can automatically read license plates and check the plates against a database. If a match is found, the software can alert an officer to respond. Of agencies surveyed, 85 percent feel this is a valuable application for the police vehicles and plan on increasing the use of LPR over the next five years, equipping on average 25 percent of their fleet.

        The PERF report, "How are Innovations in Technology Transforming Policing," highlights many of the benefits of an LPR system, which can:

        • help agencies to identify and recover stolen automobiles
        • detect vehicles driven by potential suspects related to a crime
        • collect license plates information at a particular location for potential analysis
        • inform officers of potential threats, keeping the officer safe.

        All agencies that deploy ALPR systems have their own stories to tell on how this technology helped them to identify stolen vehicles, arrest criminals and keep their communities safer. A video news report from Pennsylvania highlights a case where, within hours of activating an ALPR system, an officer instantly received an alert that a car he was going to pull over for speeding was wanted in a kidnapping and shooting incident. Because of his virtual partner, the ALPR system, the officer was aware of the situation before getting out of the car, approached the armed and dangerous suspects with caution and made the arrests of three suspects. An article from the Los Angeles Times highlights how an ALPR system caught another kidnapping and molestation suspect that had eluded police for two years.

        ALPR solutions time and again demonstrate return on investment in catching criminals, identifying stolen cars or even just identifying vehicles with outstanding parking violations. It is a virtual partner, an extra set of eyes for an officer as he goes about his duties. Learn more about this technology now.

        Rod Guy is Director of Mobile Computing Operations at Motorola.

        Learn more about Motorola's ALPR solutions here, and find additional blogs by Rod Guy here.

      • At the Heart of Remembrance: Our National Law Enforcement Memorial

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:16 PM by Motorola Solutions

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        The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is our nation's tribute to our heroic law enforcement professionals—men and women who strap a gun to their side, place a badge over their heart, and put the lives of others before their own. With such valiant service comes sacrifice, and more than 19,000 American peace officers have fallen in the line of duty. These courageous individuals are forever remembered and honored at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.

        A powerful inscription on the Memorial, a quote from a survivor named Vivian Eney Cross, reads, "It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived." As chairman and CEO of the Memorial Fund, I've been blessed to meet thousands of inspiring men and women from around the country at the Memorial throughout the years, especially during National Police Week. I'm always so proud and humbled to hear survivors talk about how important the Memorial is to them. It's a place for quiet reflection, a place to remember and a place to heal. No one can describe the true meaning of the Memorial better than those who have a loved one honored on its marble walls.

        Laurie Tietjen, whose brother, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Officer Kenneth F. Tietjen was killed on 9/11, shared her experience visiting the Memorial for the first time. I'd like to share it with you here: Laurie Tietjen remembers her brother Kenneth F. Tietjen.

        The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, dedicated in 1991, is a long overdue and richly deserved tribute. We hope you will join us for National Police Week 2012 (May 13-19), including the 24th Annual Candlelight Vigil on May 13, where 362 newly inscribed names of fallen heroes will be formally dedicated.

        For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.

        Craig W. Floyd is Chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Learn more at www.LawMemorial.org.