People communicate naturally in different ways. An entire generation now uses a paradigm that didn’t exist five years ago. This was brought home to me in a way I’ll never forget.
My daughter, then a senior in high school, sent me a text: her school was in a hard security lockdown. I texted back asking what was happening. She replied that she didn’t know and couldn’t see anything; she was in an inside room, out of the line of sight of the door window, not allowed to talk, and the lights were off. We kept texting and finally she sent the message: “OK the police are here.” Shortly after, she was able to text to me that a SWAT team was in the building.
My first reaction was relief of course, but my next was anger. How did she suddenly know all this information? I thought she must be doing something dangerous, like leaving the room and looking out the window. When we talked later, she said no, one of her friends was in the science room with an outside window and she was taking pictures with her smartphone and posting them to Facebook. Another friend was overlooking the foyer and doing the same.
Two things struck me about this. First, these kids had the capacity to collect and share information in real time that public safety didn’t have – information that would be hugely beneficial if public safety did have it. Second, they did all this on their own. Sharing information about events around them with the very powerful technology at their disposal (smartphones, wireless broadband, and social networking) is their perfectly normal response when something happens. This is how the public will collaborate in the future. Our agencies must adapt to meet the expectations of these connected citizens and take full advantage of the opportunity to tap into their constant flow of information – information that is often trivial, but sometimes has the potential to save lives.
In my daughter’s case, a man had called the school to say he was coming there with a gun to kill himself. He never made it to the school, but the experience was unnerving. When we talk about building safer cities and thriving communities, I think of those high school kids. Sure, they have powerful technology in their hands – but what’s more important is that they can be counted on to use it, even during an emergency. Especially in an emergency. If we can patch them through to the PSAP via NG9-1-1, pick out the important and relevant data, and send that data back out to the field in real time, then our first responders can proceed with additional intelligence and ultimately act more effectively to get those kids home safe.
Paul Steinberg is the Chief Technology Officer at Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Imagine an annual summer festival, teeming with large crowds of people. Imagine the coordination that is needed between fire, EMS, public works, and transit coordinators staffing the event. Motorola Solutions told the story of one such festival, set in a fictional town called "Smithtown," in our booth at APCO to demonstrate how technology and expertise can help make a city safer. As you'll see, the summer festival in Smithtown was a success thanks to the connected responders.
Let's look at three key incidents that happened during the Smithtown summer festival.
Foot patrol officers coordinate incident response by radioing Incident Command (IC) to help an injured festival attendee. Their location is identified through the radio's GPS, and IC dispatches bike paramedics to the scene. After the paramedic's assessment, IC dispatches an ambulance for additional medical treatment.
Keeping an eye on traffic, fixed video cameras along the main roads into the grounds and parking areas alert IC that traffic is getting heavier. Parking in the main lots is reaching capacity. Drivers are rerouted to overflow parking, resulting in quicker access into the festival.
MVX1000 In-Vehicle Camera; Deployable Fixed Camera
Acting as one, public works employees help public safety by radioing IC to report a missing 7-year-old child. The mother sends a photo of her daughter from her cell phone, and within moments the picture is shared with all public safety personnel and other staff on the festival grounds. The girl is quickly located, and the officer who finds her sends video of the girl from his wearable camera to be shown to her mom confirming this is indeed her daughter. Within moments they are reunited.
No matter what the scenario, it's essential for officers to proceed with intelligence and stay ahead of what's next. First responders require mission-critical devices to ensure they are connected and able to access information as needed. IT is the link that strengthens all parties involved in any situation and allows public safety personnel to contribute to safer communities and cities that thrive.
For more information about the technology and the solutions used in the Smithtown story, please visit www.MotorolaSolutions.com/SaferCities. And tour the Smithtown booth at APCO 2012, plus hear from Motorola leaders about the different technology solutions in this video: http://youtu.be/il_N-1oB-Qg.
Stan Jaworski is Vice President of North America Marketing Marketing for Motorola Solutions, Inc.
We are in the middle of a revolution in how Americans communicate – and public safety has fallen behind. It's time to catch up with our constituents.
Our citizens, especially young adults, have become social media experts and smartphone warriors. People shoot video, take pictures, post reports on what's happening. When an incident strikes, they have eyes and ears on the ground. They expect police, fire, EMS and other responders to know at least as much as they know. And they want information right now. Is the storm coming? When will it hit? What should I do and where should I take shelter?
In today's connected world, these seem like reasonable expectations. But if a private citizen takes a cell-phone photo of a car accident scene, we can't see that on our 9-1-1 systems. Not yet.
Solutions are emerging. Mobile broadband, NG9-1-1, interoperable and mission-critical networks, rugged devices and analysis tools for operationalizing the endless stream of incoming data – these will strengthen our ability to protect and inform the public. I know local money is tight, but our elected officials are showing greater willingness to fully grasp how communications impact our first responders' ability to work safely and effectively on the street, and in the neighborhoods.
During my tenure as fire chief and then taking over FEMA, I have talked to a lot of business people. They want to know the city will be able to protect their businesses and citizens. After all, this is why our government was created: to serve and protect the residents. Investments that help to make the city as safe as possible will attract business. I think our mayors and other officials are recognizing that investing in technologies like wireless broadband and NG9-1-1 is critical. Only when we equip our cities with the latest technologies available can we meet citizens' expectations for safer cities.
R. David Paulison is a Senior Partner at Global Emergency Solutions and former FEMA Administrator.
Our communities are awash in a rising tide of information generated by the citizens themselves. Globally, 200,000 text messages are being sent this very second.* More than 30 million surveillance cameras are capturing video in the U.S alone. Smartphone users – almost half the U.S. population – are uploading videos, photos and social media posts.
The challenge for public safety is this: Hidden in this flood of raw data is intelligence that tells you how to deploy your resources… where to predict trouble… and potentially how to save a life.
This is a rich and unprecedented resource, but most agencies today are barely skimming the surface. It’s not enough to simply monitor information as it flows through the community. The hard part is filtering out the noise and transforming what’s left into actionable intelligence. The meaning of "situational awareness" changes when half your citizens are equipped to share live video as events unfold; but one thing that won’t change is the limited human capacity to process information. This is especially true for first responders under stress on the front lines. They are in no position to go hunting for needles in haystacks.
Technology – which created this resource – is our best hope for operationalizing it. Emerging solutions will enable agencies to catch up with the expectations of their constituents:
This is a radically new environment for public safety, but Motorola Solutions is working on developing the tools to master it. The opportunity before us is to transform the noise into information, the information into intelligence, and ultimately, the intelligence into a safer city.
Bob Schassler is Motorola's senior vice president for Radio Solutions.
*Source: International Telecommunication Union, 2010.
Today, next generation solutions are changing the way public safety communicates. Solutions like interoperable P25 voice and data communications, private LTE broadband, real-time video, mobile CAD, and NG 9-1-1. In Minneapolis this year, APCO will have many great educational seminars available for you to learn about these new capabilities and other issues facing public safety today.
I’d like to invite you to attend:
“Stay Ahead of What’s Next” at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 20, in the Exhibit Hall Presentation Theater. Bob Escalle and I will be discussing mission-critical intelligence with a single, unified perspective to make resources more effective. We’ll show how dispatchers will know what to do and responders will know what to expect when unparalleled voice, immersive data applications, and robust security converge on intuitive, street-ready devices. The ability to drive data in real-time to the officer on the street is a force multiplier, and recognized business priority for all law enforcement agencies. So please make sure to attend, as this information is vital for public safety professionals who want to stay on top of the latest technology.
At 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the Convention Center, Motorola’s Al Ittner will be speaking about narrowbanding, a hot topic as we draw closer to 2013 and the FCC mandate. “Narrowbanding: What You Need to Know to Be Compliant” will feature a panel discussion with topics including licensing modifications, determining equipment narrowbanding capability, using system conversion plans, and overcoming funding challenges. If you have any questions about what your department or agency needs to do to be compliant by the end of the year, this is the panel to attend. Al is no stranger to the narrowbanding issue; he’s written extensively on the subject in Next Generation Public Safety. Read his latest blog here.
And if you’ve got narrowbanding covered, be sure to see Stu Overby, Director of Spectrum and Regulatory Strategy for Motorola Solutions, speak at a panel called “NPSTC Discusses Public Safety Communications Current Events,” also at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday in the Convention Center. Stu will bring his expertise on the national public safety broadband network, now known as FirstNet, to the panel discussion. The group will review last year’s progress with the network and the PSWAC’s task force results from efforts to outline spectrum needs through 2020.
Motorola Solutions will be showcasing our leading-edge public safety communication solutions for public safety in our booth (#1213), which will be an experience in itself. Make sure to stop by to see how our solutions can help to keep cities safer.
See you in Minneapolis!
Tom Miller is Director of Public Safety Markets at Motorola Solutions, Inc.
For more details about APCO 2012, please see the APCO website at http://apco2012.org.
Keep up with Motorola’s news from APCO on Twitter @MotPublicSafety.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Woman Law Enforcement Executive of the Year (WoLEEY) Award presented by the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) and Motorola Solutions.
For years, women have continued to leave their mark in the public safety sector with their outstanding commitment and efforts in creating safer communities. To honor these exceptional women, I founded the WoLEEY Award in 2002 to honor those that have shown remarkable commitment, leadership, and mentoring excellence. This year's recipient, UConn's Police Chief Barbara O'Connor, is one such individual.
A seasoned officer, Chief O'Connor began her successful law enforcement career in 1983 and has since established herself not only as a leader in the communities she's served but as a role model to others in the public safety sector. Colleagues describe her as one who "continuously drives success in her organization” and one who leverages her "knowledge as a ‘street cop' as well as an administrator and attorney…to lead judiciously and fairly while serving as a role model to other female officers."
Having served as Chief of Police for the University of Massachusetts and University of Illinois, Chief O'Connor brings more than ten years of university police experience to her current role as director of Public Safety/Chief of Police for UConn where she leads both police and fire personnel. Within these past 12 years, she has shown tremendous efforts in improving her department and ensuring the safety of the community – from fighting to increase budget for instrumental programs, increasing staffing by 20 percent, implementing campus safety camera programs, instituting a security guard program to making community policing an activity for all officers.
With her breadth of knowledge, commitment to serve and protect the community, and passion to mentor other officers, it is no surprise that Chief O'Connor is this year's 2012 WoLEEY Award recipient.
Jackie Wasni is Vice President of Sales and Services for Motorola Solutions, Inc.