If you’ve seen The Wizard of Oz, you likely remember the scene where Dorothy and her crew stumble upon the Wizard, a giant smoke-breathing character with a deep, booming voice. But when Toto the dog uncovers the man behind the curtain, and the con is revealed to everyone. The Wizard of Oz is just a man pretending to be someone more powerful and intimidating than he really is. And in an attempt to hide the fact, he shouts, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”
This phrase is often compared to people who work behind the scenes keeping machines, networks and systems up and running. In many cases, we pay little attention to them. We simply expect the technology to work and that it’s running smoothly.
However, in a mission-critical environment, it’s important to see both sides of "the curtain” – to understand not only that the technology is working, but whether or not it’s working optimally, if there are potential network faults and what action is being taken behind the scenes to remediate them and prevent them from ever occurring.
As the complexity of P25 networks increase and organizations face challenges in hiring and retaining the proper talent to monitor, optimize, maintain and operate their networks, there is a growing interest in Managed Services to offload risk, cost and management responsibilities to a reliable and trusted provider.
In this model, it’s critical to have a view into the operation of your network, its performance and the status of the services you receive. This helps ensure clear accountability and provides you with control over your network, while separating yourself from its management.
To address these needs, Motorola Managed Services customers have access to MyView Portal, which provides real-time access to system performance, Service Level Agreement (SLA) compliance, incident tickets and much more. It’s the anytime, anywhere connection you need for your mission-critical communications system. This “trust, but verify” approach assures you that the individuals working behind the scenes are delivering on the agreed-upon outcomes for network performance and availability. With complete control and visibility, there will be no surprises, and you’ll have up-to-the minute network notifications at your fingertips.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain? No, in fact you must pay close attention. Public safety, governments, enterprises and citizens depend on it and you can’t afford to hand off the management of your mission-critical network without having 24x7x365 visibility to its performance and operation.
Joe Pressing is Sr. Portfolio Manager for Managed Services at Motorola Solutions. Read more blogs from Joe here.
Photo courtesy of The Wizard of Oz Has No Clothes [Mackinac Center].
Denver is host to the National Emergency Number Association’s (NENA) 2015 Annual Conference at the Colorado Convention Center beginning Saturday June 27th and continuing until July 2nd. With all of the changes happening in Emergency Call Centers across the country-from PSAP Consolidations to Text to 9-1-1 to Crime Reporting Analytics-it’s an exciting time to be part of this conference. This year, the conference theme is “Learn, Connect, Discover and Grow”. To get you in that mindset, I've collected 10 fun facts to help you get the most out of your NENA experience:#1: Denver gets its nickname as the Mile High City because the 13th step of the Colorado State Capitol building is exactly 5,280 feet (1 mile) above sea level. Enjoy the Mile High City while you attend the NENA Conference. #2: NENA has over 90 hours of Education and training sessions plus 12 hours of cutting edge demonstrations in the Expo from over 100 exhibitors. Check out the schedule.Monday, June 29 10:00am – 1:30pm; 3:00pm – 5:00pmTuesday, June 30 8:00am – 9:00am; 10:30am – 4:00pm#3: Motorola Solutions recently acquired Emergency Callworks, taking 9-1-1 innovation beyond next generation, and Public Engines, a sophisticated Crime reporting tool. Stop by the Motorola booth (#215) or Emergency CallWorks booth (#221) to learn about synergies our companies bring to Emergency operations. #4: Denver is one of only 12 US cities that has a major league team in the 4 largest American sports (baseball, hockey, football and basketball)#5: There will be more than 100 breakout sessions at NENA 2015 on a variety of 9-1-1 topics. I encourage you to stop by and listen to the following Buzz Sessions, right in the Expo Hall.Buzz Sessions – Colorado Center – Expo Hall Monday June 29 11:00am - 11:30amComprehensive Risk Management framework for securing 911 centersPresenter: Gedi Jomantas, Director of Security Services, Motorola SolutionsTuesday June 30 10:45 - 11:15Understanding how to implement text to 911Presenter: Dan Sawicki, Director of Project Management, Motorola Solutions#6: Golf balls travel 10% farther in Denver due to the high altitude. If you have time to sneak in a game between sessions, you might play a better game than usual.#7: NENA has been around for over 30 years helping Emergency Command Centers to improve operations. Motorola has been a proud member of the Association since its inception and is a Bronze Sponsor of the 2015 NENA show. Motorola Solutions will have a demo booth during all of the NENA expo days, stop by and see:Integrated Command and Control SolutionsNG9-1-1 Call Taking and Text HandlingVoice Dispatch CommunicationField Messaging and Information SharingTactical Response, Analytics and Prediction Emergency CallWorksSmart Public Safety Solutions#8: Motorola will have private in-depth tours of our end- to-end solutions in Room 302 of the Colorado Convention Center. Stop by the booth (#215) to schedule your appointment and get into the nitty gritty details.#9: Led Zeppelin played their first US show in Denver Auditorium Arena in 1976. Check out other great Denver venues and activities for post-NENA exploration here#10: Stay in touch during the event by downloading the NENA app and follow Motorola Solutions on Twitter and Facebook.NENA on FacebookNENA on Twitter: @911NENA911Motorola Solutions on FacebookMotorola Solutions on Twitter: @MotoSolutions#NENA2015 hashtag and $MSI I am so excited about this year’s NENA conference. I know it will be an opportunity for me to learn new facts about the future of 9-1-1. I hope that you will be there and stop by the Motorola booth (#215) or the Emergency CallWorks booth (#221) and learn about our new solutions in advancing 9-1-1.To learn more about Motorola Solutions' next-generation 9-1-1 solutions, click hereJosie Slaughter is Senior Marketing Manager, Smart Public Safety Solutions for Motorola Solutions.Read additional blogs by Josie Slaughter here9-1-1 Month Blog Series:Three Issues on Every 9-1-1 Communications Director’s Mind – and Best Practices for Addressing ThemDispatcher, Investigator, Counselor, Friend: The Many Faces of a 9-1-1 Call Taker9-1-1, What’s Your Emergency: the Person Behind the Voice That’s There to Help When You Need It MostIf It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, Then It Surely Takes a Team to Raise a 9-1-1 CAD SystemWhy Was 9-1-1 Chosen as the Number to Call for Help? The Origin and Evolution of the Emergency Number to CallYour Kids Think They Can Text to 9-1-1
Time is representative of many things to many people, but rarely does it represent lives. To public safety agencies, it does. A second here or a second there can be the difference between an injury or a fatality. So better planning and preparedness ultimately lead to better and faster response for Emergency Management teams tasked with preventing or minimizing loss of life. Anything that can be done to speed up processes while maintaining or improving quality is especially valuable to organizations like the Rockbridge County Emergency Management team. Here’s a tale of two workflows for the Rockbridge County Emergency Management team and how the improved workflow benefited their bottom line.
A year ago Rockbridge County’s Emergency Management team had a painstakingly long and complex process to document incidents--not unlike many public safety agencies today. The manual multi-step process included:
In many cases, this process took roughly a week to complete. A full week! Not to mention, Emergency Management staff had to go out to each traffic accident in order to evaluate if their presence was necessary, wasting time and resources when they weren’t required to get involved. To summarize, Rockbridge County Emergency Management was using a 6-step process that included "pen and paper" and took up to a week of time, and many other agencies are still doing this in a similar fashion today. Time that could have been spent doing tasks the men and women of the Emergency Management team would have much rather been doing.
About a year ago they implemented our SceneDoc mobile documentation software. Suddenly, Rockbridge County was able to turn a documentation process that used to take a week, into as little as 45 minutes. The local fire department also got into the action and began using SceneDoc. Additionally, Emergency Management staff no longer had to trek out to accidents that didn’t require their examination. With SceneDoc they now have full visibility of the scene for all departments and can easily collaborate between users. Rockbridge was so happy with the success that they decided to implement SceneDoc countywide.
At SceneDoc, we know that the less time you spend doing administrative tasks and documenting, the more you have to doing all of the other things critical to planning and responding to emergency situations that shave those critical seconds and minutes, leading to safer communities and outcomes. Our customers have consistently found that SceneDoc saves roughly one hour per shift. That means that this year alone, our customers have saved over 56,000 hours! That’s 56,000 more hours spent planning for emergencies, patrolling neighborhoods, working investigations and allowing public safety officials to do what they really want to do — keep their communities safe. Because let’s face it: no one starts a career in public safety because of the paperwork.
Listen to Alex Kottoor on Episode #2 of the Motorola Solutions Podcast: How Public Safety Saved 56,000 Hours:
Visit SceneDoc to learn more about the digital notebook software that provides a secure method of documenting crime, accidents and other incident scenes for law enforcement and other public safety personnel. To learn more about Motorola's intelligence-led public safety solutions, visit www.motorolasolutions.com/ilps
Alex Kottoor is Co-Founder & CEO of SceneDoc, a Motorola Solutions Venture partner.
Take Note – How Better Note Taking can Make Your Community Stronger
When it’s windy, raining, and pitch-black dark outside the last thing you want is to be searching for a lost radio. But that’s exactly the situation one of our customers recently faced when an officer lost his radio while navigating through some abandoned buildings in the heart of a busy metropolitan city. Usually this would mean wasting time and resources or potentially losing a sensitive Police radio worth thousands of dollars that could end up in the wrong hands. This customer, however, had our PremierOne™ CAD with Responder Location enabled, so when dispatch received a notification of a possible stolen radio they knew exactly what to do. The dispatcher used GIS-info within CAD to pinpoint the GPS-enabled radio’s location and send the officer there for a quick recovery.
It’s not every day that Responder Location will help you recover a Police radio worth thousands of dollars, but when I asked what’s most important about the solution when talking with customers they have said:
Read more blogs by Ross here.
Talk to a friend, turn on the news, or check Facebook. You don’t have to look far to see the growing negative sentiment towards law enforcement. When protests and riots occur, law enforcement officers are tasked with protecting their respective communities and, increasingly, themselves. There isn’t a silver bullet solution that will magically protect officers and citizens; however, departments can take advantage of resources already available to better follow the sentiments of their constituents to best prepare for those worst case scenarios. People post everything that occurs in their lives to social networks. Some of it has little value to law enforcement. You really don’t need to know what someone ate for lunch or to see pictures of cute kids and pets. What you care about are threats being made against your community so that you can detect risks and keep them from becoming realities.
Risk for Community and Officer Safety on Social Media
We can’t predict the future with social media, but we can identify potentially dangerous situations. Something as benign as a venting session or someone sharing their views on a tense subject that goes viral might not be noteworthy initially, but as the situation escalates and becomes socially viral, the possibility of the risk and threat transcending social media and playing out in our communities is very real. Considering the brevity of police involved incidents, being aware and doing what is possible to avoid those situations can mean the life of an officer. Capabilities like social media analytics and alerting help to identify these risks, putting real-time alerts and visual charts and graphs in your hands so officers and command can make the best-informed decisions heading into incidents.
Social Intel to Identify Threats Against Law Enforcement
As an investigative tool, social media can be used to listen to your community and stay attuned to their priorities and concerns. Listening to posts, tweets, and trending topics, you can monitor civil conversations and unrest and take the subsequent action necessary to keep everything peaceful. Citizens will naturally express their freedom of speech and right to protest—law enforcement officers are there to uphold those very rights, and ensure that everyone, citizens and officers included, are kept safe in the process. Knowledge is power, and with technology, you have a direct line into what your community is thinking and feeling. Searching social media is the first step. The easiest, most intuitive way to detect risk that could impact officer safety is to search for keywords surrounding an incident or phrases that indicate violence.
Risk During High Profile Investigations
Whenever there is a high profile investigation that could potentially lead to rioting or protests, searches can help law enforcement detect unrest faster. In order to get participants, organizers need to publicize and gain momentum. They do this through social media posts. Searches around these types of situations can help you detect any unrest that could harm officers.
Social Risk Surrounding Civil Unrest
Civil unrest as it pertains to keeping officers safe includes a variety of situations. One piece is being able to detect situations like riots and protests in tense situations as early as possible. Once a potential situation is detected, then law enforcement can use the very channels used to spread potential unrest and planning of a riot or protest to advise the public on safety measures. This includes safety measures the department is taking to keep innocent bystanders safe and also communicating to those who are causing the unrest. Departments have the opportunity to use social intelligence to de-escalate scenarios by responding and mitigating risk. The other piece, and probably the biggest chunk of data you can get from social media, happens during the incident. Departments can use social media to provide updates during these moments of unrest as well.
Once threats have been identified, departments are more equipped to make decisions than they were without social intelligence. These strategies can be deciding to send a team of officers instead of one to finding ways to deescalate a situation or share content and messaging through your public information officer to counteract negative sentiment. As situations unfold, social media intelligence can be used to make tactical and strategic decisions. Departments can gain an advantage through social media by identifying key persons of interest and influencers, trends. Having that intelligence and being able to know the type of situation officers are going into can change the trajectory of an event.
Understanding the Types of Threats on Different Channels
Social media is fluid—platforms change frequently and content on different channels vary. Some are more image based like Facebook and Instagram. Some are text based like Twitter. On top of all that, live streaming video reveals potential threats.
Live Streaming Video
This is a new (as of March 2015) channel and it’s gaining momentum quickly. Live videos, like those available of Periscope, provide valuable intelligence for law enforcement in determining threats against officers. Protests, negative discussions around law enforcement, persons of interest with guns and narcotics, and violent behavior in videos signal threats against law enforcement. Media live streaming increases risk for law enforcement as well. Reporters are live streaming as they arrive at scenes, revealing tactical information to the public. This gives would-be-persons-of-interest tactical intelligence that puts officers’ lives at risk.
Protecting Those Who Keep our Communities Safe
Law enforcement officers put their lives at risk everyday. It’s heartbreaking to see these courageous men and women get attacked while trying to keep peace. Social media intelligence can help identify threats and risks before a decision is made to deploy officers to a scene. Think of all this as a cycle. Officers protect us citizens; we protect our officers. If we attack law enforcement officers, they can’t do their job and protect us. It’s time we empower law enforcement departments with the intelligence they need to stay alive and keep their communities safe.
For more information on intelligence led public safety solutions, visit www.motorolasolutions.com/ilps
The Oakland Police Department, historically, was like most departments in the US. We took in data from a large number of sources, but because they were all disparate and unconnected, we struggled to get the full value out of this information. Several years ago, we implemented LEAP from Forensic Logic as a way to link our data together, as well as get access to their nationwide data-sharing network. With Forensic Logic, we now had a better view into the crime in our district and the ability to identify trends that we could fight with other agencies around our area. But, truthfully, the biggest initial benefit we found was the ability to see and build relationships between the data we had internally. We were able to look at all sources of data, whether it was from ShotSpotter, CAD incidents, RMS, or daily bulletin items from investigators, through one system with intuitive search and build a relationship between the data we saw.
From day one, I saw the benefits Forensic Logic brought to my agency’s daily crime fighting and public safety efforts, but the moment that reaffirmed for me how revolutionary it was is when I made my first “bedside arrest.”
As a Deputy Chief for Oakland PD, I was up all the time getting calls. One day, I had prepared to “chair” the Department’s CompStat meeting, and had found that there was a series of crimes occurring east of Lake Merritt. I saw about five or six robberies that looked like they likely were connected —no plates, no good vehicle descriptions, but pretty decent information of how the crimes were being committed. As crimes occurred throughout the shift, we logged them, so we could continuously see what was happening.
I woke up the next morning and saw there was a robbery that occurred late last night after I had finished my report. And the only lead on it was a dealer plate from a small dealer in Oakland on the suspect vehicle. As I read about the crime, I decided it might be connected to the series I noticed in CompStat. At this point, I still haven’t left my bed. I pulled up LEAP on my iPad and searched the dealer plate. Guess what? I found a match. Dealer plates are not always listed in data systems, however, we were fortunate that an officer had listed the plate and vehicle description in the field contact. Using traditional query capabilities, I would likely not have found this information because I wouldn’t have thought to look here. But with LEAP’s natural language search capabilities, the tool automatically performs an unstructured search of all data elements in the data network. The vehicle and data listed in LEAP were clearly the same vehicle used in the robbery. And that car had been stopped about two weeks earlier by officers in another part of Oakland. Plus, they had a field contact card on it with the names of the individuals who were involved. Without having left my bed, I had found prior robbery arrests for one of the individuals, three locations they frequented based on field contacts, and two locations they were most likely still living in or associated with.
I headed over to one of the locations (unfortunately I did have to leave my bed eventually), did a concentric search, and found the car parked about a block from one of the individual’s home. I called Patrol officers to the scene to watch the car and they eventually took the individuals into custody.
That moment confirmed what we know in police work: an interconnected data network with an intuitive interface can help solve crimes rapidly. The ability to take a dealer plate, type it in, match it up to a crime and then correlate this information together was extremely valuable to my everyday operations and ultimately led to more actionable information, more intelligent responses and more productive sleep (at least for me).
Now, Motorola Solutions and Forensic Logic are working together to integrate the technology into a seamless Intelligence-Led Public Safety platform so that users can benefit from the same capabilities in new ways.
To learn more about Motorola’s Intelligence-Led Public Safety solutions visit www.motorolasolutions.com/ILPS
Eric Breshears is a former deputy chief from the Oakland police department in California. He now works as the Director of Product Management at Forensic Logic.