Getting it right: Government Public Relations manager Karen Bartuch, a former Chicago Police officer, grips her gun and takes aim during tactical exercises recently.
For an engineer, what better way to design mission-critical products than to go through mission-critical training? That is exactly what 12 technologists from the Motorola Solutions CTO office did recently. The training came about while trying to understand how technology could assist tactical officers when dealing with barricaded gunmen situations – one of the more dangerous incidents for law enforcement to respond to.
I currently work in public relations for Motorola Solutions but jump at any opportunity to get on the range or teach tactics, having spent almost 10 years in law enforcement, several of them in the tactical training community. The technologists here at Motorola Solutions assess different law enforcement incidents such as a traffic stop or foot pursuit in order to better develop new communication technology that will assist officers in their jobs and ultimately save lives. The technologist team invited me to a planning meeting focused on barricaded incidents. After being peppered with questions for hours, I thought it best they experience firsthand the training that SWAT officers do.
In the training community, there is a saying, "You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall to your level of training," which is why it is important to make training as real as possible. SWAT team members are highly skilled and trained, with consistent and frequent training in firearms, fitness and tactics. In order to effectively respond to rapidly unfolding, dynamic, life-or-death situations, officers must train together to ensure a coordinated and safe response. In order to make their training as real as possible, "force on force" Simunitions are employed. And it was no different for the technologists.
We spent one full day on a remote 120-acre training site equipped with numerous shooting ranges and one of the best ballistic shoothouses in the country. Combat mindset, use of force, decision making under stress, target discrimination, close quarter battle, and entry techniques are a few of the topics that were covered; everyone had an opportunity to shoot a pistol and an AR-15 rifle – some for the very first time. The engineers got to experience firsthand how officers make entry into buildings, clear rooms, handle weapons and even just how difficult it is to effectively maneuver while wearing a ballistic vest, duty belt and radio.
For Motorola, communications solutions are at the heart of what we do, but several creative discussions resulted from the training – all centered on how to better equip officers, mitigate risk and ultimately save lives. These real world simulations are invaluable in helping to design the next generation of solutions for public safety so that officers can improve the way they respond to incidents, potentially saving lives in the process. Stay tuned for updates on new solutions that were influenced by this training day.
Former Chicago Police officer and current Motorola Solutions public relations expert Karen Bartuch, right, shows the finer points of firing a Glock 9mm pistol to her Motorola colleague, Renee Neubecker. Renee is on the CTO’s Global Portfolio Management Team, involved in Next Generation Public Safety (NGPS), and she was on the scene to learn about tactical maneuvers.
Matt McNamara talks to Motorola Solutions employees as they prepared to spend a full day on a remote 120-acre training site, learning about combat mindset, use of force, decision making under stress, target discrimination, close quarter battle, and entry techniques.
Karen Bartuch has been in law enforcement since 2002 and still works part-time for a small county west of Chicago. She is the president and founder of the Women’s Tactical Association, a charity that brings tactical training to female law enforcement. She joined Motorola Solutions in November 2011 as the manager of Government Public Relations. She holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and a Master’s from DePaul University.
Are you operating in analog VHF (150-174MHz) or UHF (421-470MHz) frequencies at 25KHz? If so take out a marker and circle January 1, 2013. Not because it’s the start of a new year, but because it is the deadline to narrowband your system.
Base stations play an important role in your overall communication system evolution, whether it is to meet your narrowband requirements or to plan for ease of future migration. The Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared" takes on new meaning when you are talking about investing in mission-critical infrastructure equipment. So ask yourself: Is the equipment in your communications backpack flexible enough to prepare your organization for new requirements and the FCC’s narrowbanding requirement?
If not, there are three things you might want to consider in addition to whether a station can meet narrowband requirements.
Your needs can change over the life of the system; can your base station adapt? Can the base station migrate from analog to digital without a hardware change? Will it dynamically switch on the fly between analog and P25 digital modes? Does it support the P25 TDMA standard? Can the station be easily reprogrammed to meet future requirements?
Having a station that can be reprogrammed – whether it is for narrowbanding or adding P25 TDMA – is important. A base station that is ready out-of-the-box and adaptable to future changes will best maximize your long-term investment.
Would the ideal base station operate in a conventional or trunked configuration, and use IP or circuit-based backhaul? How about supporting multiple frequency bands? Will it take advantage of the benefits that linear modulation provides, such as extended coverage?
A base station that can support the latest technology and still be backwards-compatible provides the most benefit to your organization as you transition your system.
Do you need to be able to change out a module or download software without shutting down the base station? Would a base station that is tuned directly from the factory reduce your setup costs? Does your ideal station include integrated battery revert and charging capability to eliminate a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) at the site?
An easily serviceable base station has all of these capabilities, allowing personnel to quickly perform routine maintenance without disrupting service. This can free up time and resources for other programs.
When you are looking for a new base station I recommend you select a station that can speak to these issues and provide you with the most flexibility to meet your needs today and tomorrow. Motorola’s ASTRO 25 GTR 8000 base station satisfies all of these questions and more, providing a flexible solution that will be ready to meet your needs whether they are the impending narrowbanding requirements or future P25 TDMA demands. The G-Series platform is a workhorse base station used in mission critical systems deployed across the world in over 60 countries in UHF, VHF, 700, 800 and 900 MHz.
So circle your calendar for January 1, 2013, and get started with the latest base station technology. Learn more about narrowbanding and the steps you need to take.
Michele Shaughnessy is Vice President of ASTRO 25 Systems for Motorola Solutions. Learn more about Motorola’s suite of ASTRO systems at www.motorolasolutions.com/astro25.
Does the Police Department in your city...
...share information with citizens over social media sites?
...automatically read license plates?
...use wireless video streaming during traffic stops?
According to a survey conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) with major metropolitan cities in March of 2011 and highlighted in the Critical Issues Series "How are Innovations in Technology Transforming Policing?" police departments are using a variety of new technologies to help reduce crime and keep officers and citizens safer. Take a look at the chart below to see how many agencies are using GPS, social media, license plate readers and video recording in their jurisdictions.
Figure 1: Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) 2011 Survey
To maximize these new applications, public safety agencies need a powerful network to deliver applications to the first responders and command centers. Public Safety LTE networks provide a dedicated broadband connection to:
Harris County, Texas, is making the vision of next generation technology a reality today. They are installing a dedicated public safety-grade mobile LTE broadband network with their existing P25 LMR system, which will support interoperability throughout the 13-county region of 170 agencies and 65,000 users. The network will be used to stream live video feeds between headquarters, vehicles and officers on the street via handheld devices.
As data applications like GPS, ALPR and in-car video recording become more and more integrated into public safety operations, it is critical for public safety to have the networks to share information in real time. Motorola is committed to our first responders and we are continuing to advance Public Safety LTE broadband to meet future policing needs.
Darren McQueen is Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Wireless Private Broadband and iDEN Products and Solutions for Motorola Solutions.