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      • The Top Ten Fresh Ideas in Public Safety Blogs of 2013

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:23 PM by Jennifer Mesenbrink

        Do you feel like your personal data is safe online? Do you know how to safeguard your passwords, your removable data devices and the metadata on your photos from hackers? Do you know about the new ways ambulance drivers and hospitals can use technology to add time to the “golden hour” – the moments that slip away so quickly and can mean the difference between life and death?All this has been covered in our Next Generation Public Safety blogs this year – and in case you missed it, here’s our end-of-year wrap-up of the Top 10 Next Generation Public Safety Blogs of 2013:10. Navigating a Brave New NG9-1-1 World by Karl FasoldGuest blogger Karl Fasold, who is System Administrator of the Orleans Parish Communication District for New Orleans, Louisiana, wrote about how his city rebuilt its 9-1-1 operations after Hurricane Katrina hit. He covers the dizzying speed of NG9-1-1 changes, how his district has made changes for the better already, and how he’s looking forward to not using “Sneaker Net” anymore – delivering important public safety information by printing it out and walking it across the room.9. Shots Fired Calls of Today and Tomorrow: A Study in Contrasts by Karen BartuchKaren Bartuch brings all of her police experience and technological expertise to bear in this blog on how the “shots fired” calls of today and tomorrow will differ – and the difference is striking. Instead of walking into a crime scene blind, they’ll be able to see what happened on video via their devices before they even arrive. They will pull up to the scene already having seen a version of the truth.8. A Wait Reduction Resolution to Make Your City Safer by Rick PollakJust in time for the New Year’s Eve weight loss resolutions, blogger and government solutions expert Rick Pollak tackles the glut of public safety information from a whole new point of view; we applaud Rick for combining Twinkies AND a way to help make police and firefighters safer in his blog:“Your first responders get second and third helpings of information every day. They have to pick through voice, data, and video feeds to digest everything they see on their plates. … We can’t stop your officers and firefighters from eating doughnuts and Twinkies, but we can skinny down their information feed so they only have to digest data that’s relevant to their job.”7. Spotting Real-Time Crime Takes a Village by Jeff Menken“Whether in daily incidents or tragedies like the Boston bombings, we have all seen the direct results video cameras have on fighting crime and saving lives.”Motorola Global Solutions Architect Jeff Menken talks about how video surveillance – set up strategically throughout any city – can help police fight crime. He translates his firsthand experience working with cities on such projects into this strategic blog on how cities can best assess public safety needs and on ways to fund the right technologies.6. 2013 Public Safety Study: Focus is on Real-time Data and Video, and Cybersecurity by Tom MillerWhy guess what police and fire professionals need? Tom Miller, Director of Government and Public Safety markets for NA, delivers the straight story, culled from 850 public safety professionals in Motorola’s 2013 Public Safety Study on the current state of public safety communications technology.5. Act Now to Make the Most of Vital Minutes in the Ambulance by Steve NowlanSteve Nowlan here blogs about the difference technology can make during that first “golden hour,” the hour that often decides whether a patient lives or dies. Nowlan, the director of Solution Architecture for Motorola Solutions Global Services, is also a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellow and did his post-doctoral studies in neuroscience at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. When Steve writes about how technology can make a difference, it’s worth hearing:“Today, telemedicine can help emergency service agencies save lives by making transport time work to the patient's advantage. Time becomes a friend and not the enemy. The "golden hour" won't wait. Why should we?”4. The Real Crime Prevention Requires Real-Time Information by David ThomasThis blog is short, and its message is chilling. David Thomas, vice president of Global Solutions and Services at Motorola Solutions, relates a true story from one of his customers about how a mentally unstable man killed two police and three other people when the police called him by the wrong name – triggering his violent reaction. If those police had been equipped with the right information before they reached the scene, we’re left to wonder if the results would have been different.3. Semper Gumby: Flexibility is Key to P25 Success by Kirk MillerAny blog that blends the retro cool of “Gumby” with helpful advice on Project 25 networks is bound to be a winner. In his popular blog, Kirk Miller reflects on the concept of “Semper Gumby” – or the idea of being “Always Flexible” – and P25 network planning:“During my days in the U.S. Submarine Force, we had a saying about the need to be flexible whenever things changed with little or no notice -- and that happened frequently. It was a takeoff on the Marines’ motto of Semper Fi, or “Always Faithful.” Our flippant motto was Semper Gumby; in other words, "Always Flexible." … While the original use of the Semper Gumby motto was, shall we say, less than motivating, today’s IP-based Project 25 public safety communications environments can actually take a lesson from the Semper Gumby motto, especially in network and lifecycle management planning.”2. Boston Heartbreak and a Revolutionary Technology by Rick PollakRick Pollak is not only an expert at explaining the very latest in public safety technologies – he’s also a Bostonian. When bombers struck the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day – April 15, 2013 – they brought heartbreak to his city. In his blog, Rick writes about the video surveillance technologies and analytics that eventually resulted in the capture of one of the bombing suspects:“Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his famous poem about Paul Revere’s ride “the fate of a nation was riding that night”. Our nation’s safety is riding on how well we arm our first responders in the battle against crime. … Video analytics technology can make our cities safer and prevent future heartbreak.” 1. Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself on Social Networks by Lesley CarhartOne of our most popular bloggers of the year has been Lesley Carhart, whose blog series on how to “Secure your Organization by Securing Yourself” has earned almost 70,000 views. Lesley, a senior information security specialist in the Motorola Solutions Security Operations Center, writes about how the lines between work and personal technologies has blurred – and the unprecedented security risk this poses to employers. As she writes: “Our personal choices can impact the security of our organizations, and making the right choices can help deter attempts at theft and damage.”Don’t miss Lesley’s thought-provoking and invaluable insights in this blog series:Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself on Social NetworksWhat’s Your Pa$$word? Secure Your Organization by Securing Your AccountsSecure Yourself, Your Family and Your Organization by Securing Your PhotosSecure Your Organization by Securing Yourself: Beware the Removable Device Thanks for reading our blogs in 2013, and please let us know what topics you’d like to see in 2014 below in the Comments section!Jennifer Mesenbrink is senior manager of digital and content strategy for Motorola Solutions. Please keep up with our Fresh Ideas in Public Safety blogs by signing up for our RSS feed here or following us on Twitter at

      • Motorola’s Cynthia Leighton Honored by U.S. Congressional Fire Service Caucus

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:22 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Motorola Solutions has been serving firefighters for over 80 years with focused innovation and technology that helps save lives. But our commitment to the fire service has always gone beyond just making products. We believe in the importance of supporting advocacy for fire service interests in government regulation and policy making, and also in giving back to the fire service through support for organizations like the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and many others. Motorola employees each feel that commitment at a personal level, too. We are passionate about our work, and we honor the sacrifices that public safety professionals make every day.

        In her career at Motorola Solutions, Cynthia Leighton has not only been an exemplary model for Motorola’s commitment to the fire service, but has also brought her own personal passion to her work as Motorola’s fire service liaison. Motorola is proud now to join the U.S. Congressional Fire Service Caucus in recognizing Cynthia for her long and exceptional dedication to serving firefighters in her role. On 9 December, the Honorable Mr. Steny H. Hoyer, U.S. representative for Maryland’s 5th congressional district, formally recognized Cynthia Leighton’s work through his remarks entered into congressional record. An example of Motorola’s support and Cynthia’s work is well captured in this video about the 2012 NFFF memorial weekend.

        We’re grateful at Motorola that we had the privilege of working with Cynthia and wish her the best!

        Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

        Alan Lopez is the Marketing Director of Public Safety Solutions for Motorola Solutions, Inc.

        Learn more about Motorola’s Fire Service solutions: ernment/Fire+and+Emergency+Services.

        See how Motorola is helping public safety make safer cities:

      • “911, Happy Holidays, What’s Your Emergency?”

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:22 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Remember the old military commercial that used the slogan “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure”? Nothing could be more true about the job our military men and women do at home and abroad. But the saying can also be applied to the job done by public safety workers in states and cities all across the country. Police, fire and EMS personnel are on the job 24x7x365, sometimes risking their lives to resolve dangerous situations. Behind the scenes are public safety dispatchers, the unsung heroes.

        With the holiday season now upon us, remember that the men and women on the other end of a 911 call are also there to serve no matter what the date reads on the calendar. As many families celebrate their unique holiday traditions, public safety dispatchers find themselves among co-workers ready to handle whatever comes their way on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and many more holidays in cities like Joliet, Ill.

        Joliet is located roughly 40 miles southwest of Chicago. With more than 150,000 residents, it is the fourth-largest city in Illinois and was among the fastest-growing cities in the country during the housing boom. Joliet’s police and fire departments are also longtime Motorola Solutions customers.

        Traci Harrison has been a public safety dispatcher in Joliet for almost 10 years. Married to a Joliet police officer and the daughter of a retired Joliet police officer, Traci has felt the effects of the sacrifices public servants make her whole life. Traci says she doesn’t mind working most holidays, but Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are difficult because those are special days when she would rather be at home with her son and she doesn’t like missing out on those memories with him. She and her co-workers make the best of it by celebrating with their “second family” and knowing that at any point they could be helping to save someone’s life. She also knew what she was getting into when she took the job, so once she says goodbye to her family, her attention is focused on the task at hand.

        Kris Wilkerson has been a Joliet dispatcher for almost 11 years. She says her job is tough every day, but it can be especially challenging during the holidays. Instead of being with her loved ones and celebrating, she is working to make sure that everyone else is having a safe holiday. Even though she misses time with her family, Wilkerson says she wouldn’t change her job for the world. She enjoys it, and it gives her a sense of pride knowing she is helping others.

        Both women agree that sending an emergency responder into the field on a holiday is really no different than any other day, but everyone involved is always aware that even a routine situation can escalate at anytime. Kris and Traci are just two examples of the thousands of public safety workers who make tremendous sacrifices every day, including the holidays. Motorola Solutions would like to extend best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season to all public safety workers, including those out in the field as well as those behind the scenes.

        Kevin Hegarty is a North America Communications Manager with Motorola Solutions and a 34-year resident of Joliet and the Joliet area.

        Check out Motorola Solution’s Integrated Command and Control home page to see the latest innovations from our Public Safety portfolio.

      • One Year After Newtown: Connecting Teachers and First Responders to Protect Students

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:22 PM by Motorola Solutions

        The anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy touches on what is still a raw memory – living only 20 minutes from Newtown, Connecticut, the surrounding neighborhoods have stayed involved with the healing process to help this local community. The truth is that 12/14 is a painful anniversary – one that changed a peaceful, bucolic, quintessentially Connecticut town. Many of those living in Newtown recall that peaceful existence, and hope to move beyond 12/14 without the stigma of that fateful day that changed the lives, the history, and the landscape of this beautiful town forever.

        While the investigation has been completed and the school has been razed, as parents we pray an active shooter never enters an elementary school again. Even still, as a Motorola Solutions employee, the anniversary of Sandy Hook reminds me what we can and must do to help law enforcement be ready.

        To this end, I was proud to recently participate at Urban Shield 2013, a training exercise involving local, national, and international first responder agencies. This 48-hour exercise is a competition with more than 30 global tactical and medical teams, helping them prepare for and provide a unified response to disasters and major emergencies. The event took place all over the San Francisco Bay area in 36 tactical events.

        A team of technology experts from Motorola Solutions participated in a mock training environment at the Palomares Elementary School, using our radios and small communication devices for the “teachers,” who were actually actors simulating an active shooter environment. Our goal was to help demonstrate that effective communication between teachers and first responders is critical in emergency situations.

        Working closely with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office at Urban Shield, it was evident that effective communication makes a difference when saving lives.


        Training for an active school shooter scenario at the Palomares Elementary School playground

        Here is the school scenario:
        Tactical teams are briefed before entering the campus. They are told by a “janitor” that he has seen three past students enter the school campus with weapons. The janitor has told the teams that the school has been locked down and he has a radio for school communications and the keys to the school. The critical part here is that tactical teams are being tested: at any shooter event, first responders should first ask for the keys and for the radio before entering the scene. However, not all teams took the keys. Nor the radio.


        Glad these are the good guys.

        Those teams that took the radio as they entered the site were able to get the information from trapped teachers that were wearing the Motorola EWB100 Enterprise Wireless Communicators (lightweight devices enabling voice communications over the wireless). These small radios are the perfect size for teachers to wear for daily communications or in this case to act as a lifeline to first responders – allowing direct communication into the same radios that police already use. The hostage activity was heard directly through the first responder’s radio. SWAT units could quickly evaluate where shooters were and actively disarm them. Teams who didn’t have radio communication were unsure where to go first, wasting precious minutes.

        May there never ever be another Sandy Hook. However, if the situation arises where first responders need to address an active shooter, we want them to be ready. After taking part in Urban Shield, the hope is all tactical teams will use radio communications effectively – allowing connected teachers and tactical teams to enable the fastest response possible to keep students safe.

        Lara Walsh is a contributing blogger from the Motorola Solutions Sales Center of Excellence.

      • How LMR and LTE Work Together for Public Safety

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:22 PM by Motorola Solutions

        What seems to be on the minds of everyone in the industry is convergence. When will an LTE network and LTE device provide not only data but also Mission Critical Push-To-Talk (PTT) Voice, replacing an LMR system and LMR device?

        One network and one device that meet all your mission critical communications needs is a simple and elegant concept, so it’s easy to see why so many are enamored by the concept of convergence. The simple truth is that delivering mission critical voice over LTE the same way it is done over LMR is a lot harder than just Voice over LTE (VoLTE). There is still much work to be done by the industry to add mission critical PTT to the 3GPP standards and bring solutions to market.

        While the 3GPP standards for mission critical voice are being developed and we work to overcome technical hurdles, it is critical that government agencies are able to take advantage of the benefits of LTE as soon as possible. To us, that means integrating LTE into existing P25 systems. We see it as the first step in the convergence evolution: A multi-network environment where LTE and LMR networks work together and allow users – whether in the command center or on the front lines – to efficiently communicate. If you look at the end-to-end picture, you quickly realize that first responders will continue to have a device in their hand and a dispatcher will still use a dispatch application. As a result, you come to the conclusion that the current LMR to LTE debate is just over the wireless interface – between the communications tower and the end-user device, be it P25 or LTE. It’s like debating copper vs. PVC pipes in your house. At Motorola Solutions, we are focused on building that entire house, which in the case of a public safety communications system includes public safety grade devices, mission critical networks, common interfaces, and applications.

        Our view is simply you will have both LMR and LTE for some time, and possibly forever. Government agencies have invested millions of dollars in robust, redundant, interoperable, mission critical P25 systems built to be always available during any incident. LTE technology will not replace that capability overnight, even when the technology hurdles of mission critical PTT voice are solved. We simply have to look at the fact that despite the 15+ year availability of digital trunked radio technology like P25, the majority of agencies still use analog radio in some form, be it for voice dispatch, tactical communications such as the fireground, or paging, to know that agencies will maintain multiple networks for a long time. With the VALR mission critical architecture, we are enabling agencies to add LTE into their current or future P25 systems, creating a multi-network environment that leverages existing investments, coverage and interoperability. LMR and LTE technologies can and do complement each other, providing public safety with the most robust set of communication tools available today and for years to come.

        John Kedzierski is Motorola Solutions Director of Product and Solutions Marketing and previously the Motorola Solutions Area Sales Manager for the States of Illinois and Indiana.

        Motorola’s VALR™ Mission Critical Architecture lets public safety personnel securely transition between radio and broadband networks, both private and public. It unifies data sources and services that enable next generation mobile applications, and dynamically prioritizes information to get it to those who need it most, when they need it. And it is built on a flexible, migratable open platform that's simple to manage.