I recently attended an educational session at the 2014 conference for the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), where representatives from four different PSAPS discussed their experiences in the planning, implementation, and operation of adopting text-to-911. It seems that many PSAPs have an uneasy feeling about the transition to NG9-1-1, a fact that was validated by the jam-packed audience in attendance. As more and more counties migrate toward NG9-1-1, I wanted to share with you four key takeaways I learned from these text-to-911 early adopters.
1. Don’t Stress
By all accounts the text-to-911 transition is extremely smooth. Training is quick and easy—a simple PowerPoint was more than sufficient to get the operators up to speed.
Many agencies expressed concern that early on they would get overloaded with texts or experience a high volume of prank texts; however, every panelist agreed that the volume of incoming texts was surprisingly small and really no extra work for their dispatchers. Monroe County, NY, with a population around 750,000, offered up its text data from the last year:
Other concerns addressed during the session that you needn’t worry about:
• Jargon – The counties agreed that despite initial fears, they haven’t seen a bunch of acronyms. With most kids using smartphones that have autocorrect features, acronyms are not nearly as popular as they used to be.
• Language – While one representative stated that texts coming in other languages was a “huge limitation,” others stated it was as simple as putting the text into an online translation service. Indiana even has a translate button within their software.
2. Focus your messaging: “Call If You Can; Text If You Can’t”
Vermont used a slogan created by the National SMS Text-to-9-1-1 Service Coordination Group that hits the nail right on the head for how to communicate this change to the public. “Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t” is the simple and catchy slogan, yet it precisely informs the public that they can now text to 911 and when they should be doing so. People are curious. They will want to know how text-to-911 works and what they should expect. You will need efficient and clear-cut messaging to teach them what will happen when they text 911, or expect your citizens to find out the hard way.
3. Lose the dashes in 911
While you may think that 9-1-1 helps to differentiate the phone number from the September 11 tragedy, it will only cause confusion in your marketing. Although Vermont hit it out of the park with their campaign slogan, using dashes in their messaging may have caused members of the public to text to ‘9-1-1,’ which doesn’t always go through to call centers. What’s worse is that in these situations, the presenters note that the person may not be notified that their message hasn’t gone through to the call center; they may be left confused why they did not receive a response or left on their own to handle the emergency they were trying to report.
4. Text-from-911 is your best friend
While everyone has focused their attention on the impact of Text-To-911, text-from-911 might end up having a bigger impact on your PSAP. Mark Grady, president of INdigital, says that many counties are sending more than 1,000 texts from their PSAP per month. Operators have found that texting back dramatically increases the response rate on silent calls from 20 percent for a call to 80 percent for a text. And agencies are finding new ways to use texting every day.
Ross Venhuizen is a Global Marketing Specialist, Public Safety Solutions, for Motorola Solutions.
Come to our booth #435 at APCO 2014 this August in New Orleans to meet Ross and see our suite of 911 solutions. Watch now to learn about the benefits NG 911 can bring to your center.
The last few years have seen significant change in the world of instant, push-to-talk (PTT) critical communications - from FCC-mandated narrowbanding to the accelerating shift from analog to digital. Motorola Solutions has continued to support its customer base, playing a key industry role in delivering two-way radio systems, solutions and services that enable command centers and first responders to stay connected when seconds count, using technologies designed to keep them safe and in touch.
One of the greatest changes, and a significant opportunity for public safety communications, is the rapid evolution of mobile devices and data network technology that promises to fundamentally transform and improve the way public safety users communicate and collaborate. Today’s state-of-the art mobile devices -- with large high-definition screens, super-fast processors, high-resolutions cameras and enough RAM to accommodate the latest in mobile workforce applications -- are connected over high-speed public and private mission-critical 4G/LTE networks, enabling true mobile broadband at 100 Mbps.
The result of all this? Everything is going mobile. This evolution is being driven by video, cloud-based services, applications and the internet. It has changed how people behave and how they leverage mobility to communicate and to improve their daily lives, through new and existing services. Users now demand reliable broadband connectivity everywhere.
Motorola has been a leader in this evolution, firstly in Public Safety LTE infrastructure development where we’ve been delivering the security, control, prioritization and performance that our customers demand using a standards-compliant architecture, and most recently with the acquisition of Twisted Pair.
Like Motorola, Twisted Pair was a true innovator and leader in its field with its WAVE interoperability platform that integrates and transports real-time voice and data securely over any network with connectivity to two-way radio, telephony and other legacy and modern communication systems. Its mobile communicators for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry turn these modern mobile phones and tablets into effective team collaboration devices, allowing users to communicate quickly and securely with PTT. Its desktop and browser-based console applications enhance communications among teams of workers, whether in their office or mobile.
Motorola is working to integrate WAVE technology into its product lines to complement our two-way radio portfolio. In March 2014 at IWCE, we demonstrated WAVE PTT across ASTRO 25, WiFi, commercial carrier and Public Safety LTE on APX, LEX700, TC55, iPhone and Android devices. That drew a lot of customer attention and led to the launch of the latest version of WAVE, which starts shipping in July 2014.
At APCO 2014, we will have a comprehensive WAVE Broadband PTT demonstration as part of Analog to Digital Migration and Smart Policing display. There you can see how WAVE-enabled collaboration extends the reach of radio systems, allows users to choose which type of device they want to carry, and allows non-radio users to participate in secure PTT communications.
Our industry is changing rapidly, and we're leading that change with new technologies and solutions that deliver critical communications on any network and any device.
James Mustarde is the WAVE Broadband PTT Product Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions.
Stop by booth #435 at APCO 2014 to see the WAVE demo, or learn more about WAVE here.
|Donovan enjoys the opportunity of a lifetime to sit on a motorcycle surrounded by Illinois State Police officers.|
Motorola Solutions Foundation Donates $500,000 to Police Memorial
More than 500 police officers and their supporters gathered in various cities across the state of Illinois, including Chicago, Dwight, Bloomington, Carlinville and O’Fallon on Saturday, July 19, for the Illinois State Police Seventh Annual Heritage Foundation Motorcycle and Fun Car Ride to benefit the building of the Illinois State Police (ISP) Memorial Park in Springfield, Illinois. As riders from Chicago and Dwight approached Chuck’s Harley-Davidson in Bloomington to pick up fellow riders, they were met with the smell of freshly grilled hot dogs. Chuck’s Harley opened their lot and barbecued lunch for hundreds of riders taking part in the event.
|Donovan sports an Illinois State Trooper hat at the Motorcycle and Fun Car Ride event in Springfield.|
Upon arrival in the state’s capital in Springfield at the FOP Troopers Lodge 41, a very special guest was invited to receive the “Exceptional Child” award. Ten-year-old Donovan McBride from Wilcox School in Springfield always dreamed of becoming a police officer. He is an extremely optimistic kid dedicated to growing and improving himself and constantly wears a smile on his face despite his limitations with cerebral palsy.
In addition to his dreams of becoming a police officer, Donovan really wanted to see the inside of a police car. The Illinois State Police invited the McBride family to the event, making Donovan’s dream a reality. The State Troopers took pictures with Donovan and his brothers on a motorcycle, in the car and of course wearing the trooper hat.
“The boys were so polite and appreciative, and our troopers were great with them. For having a walker, he got around as well as anyone else!” said Clare Pfotenhauer, the Safety Education and Public Information Officer of the ISP.
Several Motorola Solutions employees joined in the festivities. The Director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation Matt Blakely announced that the Foundation has made a $500,000 grant to support the construction of the park. Blakely was joined by Motorola Solutions’ Illinois Area Sales Manager Dan Gewargis, Chicago and Cook County Area Sales Manager Joe Mayer and Account Managers Chris Chisnell and Mike Cisar.
Blakely had the distinct honor of making the announcement in front of state troopers, Chairman Garcia, Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau and several surviving troopers and families.
“Motorola Solutions, Motorola Solutions Foundation and our dedicated employees have worked for over 60 years to help make law enforcement officers safer and more effective in their jobs,” Blakely said. “This contribution is a way to not only show our ongoing commitment, but also honor the sacrifices the men and women in uniform make every day to protect our highways and neighborhoods.”
|Motorola Solutions Foundation Director Matt Blakely announces the company’s $500,000 grant toward the building of the ISP Memorial Park.|
This contribution is one of dozens that Motorola Solutions Foundation makes every year to support training for first responders, honor fallen first responders and provide safety education for the general public. More information on how Motorola Solutions Foundation supports safety in the communities where our employees live and work can be found here.
Motorola’s $500,000 contribution, in addition to the $55,000 raised from the event, will allow the ISP Memorial Park to become a reality, just like Donovan McBride’s dream.
Tracy Kimbo is Manager, Law Enforcement at Motorola Solutions.
For more information about the ISP Memorial Park and to donate to this cause, please visit the ISP Memorial Park Donate page.
The 80th Annual APCO Conference and Expo is just around the corner, with more than 5,000 public safety professionals expected to gather in New Orleans, Louisiana from August 3-6. This year’s theme is Discover–Engage–Succeed, and I’d like to highlight five things you will not want to miss at the show this year:
Make sure to stop by our Motorola booth #435 to check them out for yourself.
Behind the scenes, setup of the Motorola booth is already under way in New Orleans...
Follow us @MotPublicSafety on Twitter throughout the show or use #APCO2014 to join the conversation. If you cannot make it to New Orleans this year, keep up with the latest in public safety communications technology here on our Fresh Ideas in Public Safety blog.
Massimo Sangiovanni is the Vice President of North America Marketing at Motorola Solutions.
Learn more about Motorola’s suite of public safety solutions at www.motorolasolutions.com/publicsafety.
Body-worn cameras can be very effective at increasing accountability and transparency of police actions as well as making the public think twice about how they interact with police. Numerous studies have shown a significant reduction in complaints of use of force after introducing body-worn cameras - Rialto, California, saw a 50 percent reduction in complaints. And one IACP study showed that 93 percent of civilian complaints are dismissed when video evidence is present. It’s been proven to decrease litigation, reduce complaints, increase officer efficiency, improve community behavior, and enhance public trust.
While the benefits of capturing all interaction between the police and public are obvious, many challenges need to be considered before the cameras are implemented.
For departments that have deployed a real-time crime center solution (RTCC), the wearable camera can give the officer another set of eyes to help them in an incident. If the command and support staff can see the incident in real time, it could make a huge difference in what information is provided to the officer in increasing situational awareness and potentially officer safety. The RTCC operator would be able to see what was going on firsthand, look up information in real time and ensure any identity information provided to the police officer was in line with the actual people involved in the incident.
Wearable Video technology will continue to play a bigger role in Smart Policing. MSI’s Connected Police Officer includes a VieVu body-worn camera that can be used for traffic stops, field sobriety tests, use of force, and many other situations where the civilian, the agency, and the city can all benefit from video evidence captured from the officer’s point of view. Also it could have another obvious benefit: If the public knows that what they do and say are being recorded and could be used as evidence against them in the future, it will help drive different behavior. The simple fact of making the public aware is enough in itself to increase officer safety.
Nathan Rowe is the Director of intelligence-led public safety solutions at Motorola Solutions.
Learn more here about:
Senior Commander (Retired) Deborah Montgomery proved herself a trailblazer for women in law enforcement, and we’re honored to present her this year’s Walter Lawson Community Service Award at the NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives) annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Montgomery has distinguished herself in many ways; here are a few of her accomplishments. She was:
Deborah Montgomery continues to make a significant impact on the Twin Cities community through her leadership roles and volunteer activities and is a member of NOBLE, an organization focused on providing solutions to law enforcement challenges and the evolving needs of our communities.
The Walter Lawson Community Service Award honors one person every year that has made a significant contribution to his/her community. The award is named in honor of Walter Lawson, a NOBLE member who passed away as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident while returning home from a NOBLE conference. Lawson retired from the Seattle Washington Police Department after 21 years as Head of Traffic Enforcement. After a short stint with the US Department of Justice, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, he went on to serve as the Director of Administrative Services with the Alaska Department of Public Safety. Motorola Solutions sponsors this honor every year in his honor.
Tracy Kimbo is Manager of Law Enforcement for Motorola Solutions.
Learn more about NOBLE here.
Winner Deb Montgomery (left) stands with John Zidar, vice president of Government sales at Motorola Solutions, just after Montgomery received the Walter Lawson Award in Grand Rapids, Michigan.