As Chief James Craig discussed in Detroit Police Department: Renewing Hope Through A Safer Motor City, we have been revolutionizing the ways we deter, respond to and solve crime through our Project Green Light initiative. Our very own Real-Time Crime Center, in the heart of downtown Detroit, is where I work as an analyst, virtually patrolling crime hotspots and providing officers with live support as they respond to active incidents. We are fully staffed, day and night, viewing real-time video surveillance feeds, officer locations, and computer-aided dispatch information all through CommandCentral Aware to monitor high-crime areas of the city and help officers interrupt crime or suspicious activity before it escalates.
The focus is on officer and citizen safety. We pay special attention to problem areas and when officers respond to potentially dangerous situations, make sure that it is safe. I can view video feeds to make sure that the incident area isn’t set up to ambush an officer and also provide real-time information to the officer that is responding to better prepare them for what’s to come.
At first it was difficult to make sure that everyone understood how we could provide intelligence to officers on the street. I think the more we have been doing this, the better we have become broadcasting our information, and the better officers have become at understanding what we can provide to them. Now we’re at the point where they are calling us and saying "did you get that, did you get that on video, what can you provide me with and what can you help me with".
I moved to Detroit for this job. I live downtown near three Project Green Lights gas stations where I stop to get gas and see first hand a renewed feeling of safety in the community. Recently we’ve had stories of people pulling into gas stations when they are fearing that a crime is about to happen because they know that we’re watching and they know that we could get first responders there quickly. I know that what we do right now as analysts is contributing on the streets every day and it only has the potential to become more impactful. The more cameras we deploy and the further we expand our Real-Time Crime Center, the more people will want to move downtown because of the attractions, the entertainment, the nightlife and most importantly the feeling of safety.
See more about how the Detroit Police Department is transforming their operations with the help of Analysts like Ryan Terrell and CommandCentral Aware at motorolasolutions.com/detroit.
Ryan Terrell is an Intelligence Analyst at Detroit Police Department’s Real-Time Crime Center
A police officer responds to a domestic disturbance. A firefighter battles an inferno across town. A SWAT team monitors a hostage situation. These are just a few scenarios that our first responders face on a daily basis. To do their jobs safely, they use a variety of tools. And the most common tool is the one we probably think the least about. Right now, somewhere across America, first responders reach for their two-way radios to call for backup. Their radios are their lifelines. But if their radio’s battery dies, it jeopardizes everything.
Each day, police, fire, rescue and public works departments rely on two-way radios to keep them connected so they can do their jobs. And those radios require durable, long-lasting batteries to carry them through long shifts. But departments faced common battery management issues like overcharging and overheating, which can reduce battery life and reliability. As such, agencies used to spend a lot of time and money analyzing and managing batteries to ensure each battery in the field had enough capacity, and could thus provide secure, uninterrupted communication throughout shifts.
To improve battery management, Motorola Solutions listened to its customers and developed IMPRES™ technology. It’s the first smart energy system for two-way radios and uses charging algorithms and automatic maintenance to enhance the life of the radio battery. The charger and radio displays give the user an indication of the exact battery capacity still available, ensuring each battery in the field has optimum capacity.
IMPRES™ is a system so smart, it eliminates all manual battery maintenance. A case study with the City of Madison, explains how IMPRES helped them with battery management. Gone are the days of over reconditioning batteries, which shortens their lifespan, or of overheating batteries, which compromises their health.
Now there’s IMPRES™ 2, designed for APX™ and SRX series radios. It’s a next-generation energy system that’s even smarter and keeps first responders powered for even longer. With IMPRES™ 2 chargers, batteries can be charged up to 40% faster ensuring they are ready for the next emergency. And with enhanced diagnostics, IMPRES 2 multi-unit chargers also manage power more intelligently, eliminating the need for a separate battery reader. A built-in diagnostic tool provides important usage data, such as a battery’s ability to hold a charge and its time in service. Now, agencies can use information to manage their fleet more efficiently, and replace low capacity batteries before it’s too late.
IMPRES™ 2 batteries have been improved as well. Higher capacity results in more talk time and with better water resistance all IMPRES 2 batteries can handle IP68 submersion. Furthermore, with the ability to charge up to 60% more times than standard Lithium Ion batteries, our next-generation energy system will reduce costs for agencies. We continue to innovate so no matter what challenges our first responders face, they know they can rely on their radio.
Your radio is your lifeline. Don’t let a dead battery jeopardize your personnel or operation. Watch this video to learn more about how the IMPRES 2 next-generation energy system can help you.
Christina Ezell is the Global Product Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions
There are many aspects to a school safety plan. A very important component of that plan is crisis communications. There are various existing safety technologies in the schools and they are fortunate to have them (e.g. cameras, automated door locks/restricted access, alarms, etc.), but without communications, the above tools are not as effective as they could be.
In the event of a fire, regardless of the alarms, sprinklers, flashing lights, and evacuation plan, staff at the school will be much more effective at controlling the situation if they are able to communicate with each other.
Landline phones in classrooms, public address systems or intercoms, and even cell phones all aid in the response to a crisis event. But what happens if there isn’t access to the above? Cell phone towers become overloaded during a large emergency making them ineffective. Licensed two-way radios use radio frequencies and will work when other methods of communication fail or cannot be accessed.
In order to best utilize two-way radios effectively during a crisis, radio users must undergo training to properly communicate with first responders. The ability to connect with public safety or other organizations via two-way radios, also known as interoperability, is paramount to school safety. We have found that training the leaders of a school, or the school safety team, how to best speak on their two-way radio enables the other safety equipment technologies in the school to be most useful.
When discussing interoperability, the most understandable parallel is “communications teamwork.” The leaders or school safety team is best suited to work with school-aged children. The leaders or public safety first responders are best suited to responding to emergencies. Through teamwork, school leaders can describe to first responders the location of an incident, the best door to access that location, if all students have been counted or if there are several still in the building and when the buses will arrive to take the students off-campus. Public safety, in turn, can help guide school personnel who carry radios to get the students to safety as quickly as possible. Through this teamwork, community partnerships are built and open the door to discussions about safety best practices throughout your school district and community.
Even with the state-of-the-art safety technologies in a school or throughout a district, the ability to communicate with each other at the school and with first responders who will help resolve a crisis is a vital aspect of any safety plan.
Take Pueblo School District 70 as an example; Pueblo is one of the largest geographical school districts in Colorado, with a heavy focus on school safety. The district started with very few safety technologies. The first step to improve their safety measures was recognizing the importance of communications throughout the schools. Stakeholders across the district saw that there was a need for effective two-way radio use, as well as “communications interoperability” with first responders in the area. District 70 has been a school safety pioneer not only in Colorado, but throughout the country.
Learn more about their progress with communications teamwork in Colorado.
Randy Long is the Director of Training at SchoolSAFE Communications, a Motorola Solutions Partner.
For public safety agencies, knowing the location of their personnel not only improves operational performance, it can save lives. Consider the following use cases:
In Land Mobile Radio, voice traditionally has priority over any applications or services that use data. Because of its lifesaving potential, this has been a long standing rule in public safety communications. But what about location services? They can be lifesaving as well.
How do you decide which is more important, the voice or the individual’s location? You don’t have to decide - you can have both at the same time. With ASTRO 25 Location on PTT, radios don’t need to wait until after a voice transmission to send GPS location updates. Location data is embedded directly in the voice transmission and sent continuously, with no impact to voice quality or performance. The ASTRO 25 system pulls the location data out of the voice stream and forwards it on toward the mapping application.
This is especially important during an emergency voice call, such as in the example with an officer being fired upon. Since the officer had Location on PTT, backup was dispatched to the accurate location without delay. The officer’s GPS location was updated as soon as he called “shots fired”, and with each subsequent push-to-talk, providing dispatch with critical information.
Location on PTT also enhances location accuracy when the radio system is heavily congested with voice traffic, such as in the mall incident described above. Even if there are no data channels available, every time a first responder presses the PTT button, their location is updated, helping dispatchers make quick decisions based on current location data.
ASTRO 25 location services provide current location information when needed most – during emergencies and critical incidents with intense voice collaboration.
Learn more about ASTRO 25 by visiting www.motorolasolutions.com/astro
Diane Yakes is an ASTRO 25 Business Manager at Motorola Solutions
To the average person, a 9-1-1 operator may be someone who answers the phone and dispatches help. But at times when an emergency brings a call in to 9-1-1 we become more: investigators, counselors and friends to the people who call for help. And that is why we are called telecommunicators. We use active listening to understand the situation beyond the words of the caller. A good telecommunicator has a sixth sense that allows him or her to pick up vital cues and react to them. We have all shared the experience where it is not what we have heard on the phone or radio, it is what was not heard that is most disturbing and telling of that event.
You and I understand that our calling is vitally important and yet low-profile. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Nevertheless, I’m calling on my fellow public-safety telecommunicators to come out from behind the scenes and take a stand.
Every 10 years, a committee reviews the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. These are job categories used by federal agencies for statistical purposes.
Public Safety Telecommunicators have long been classified by the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system under “Office and Administrative Support Occupations.” The time to change that is now.
I’ve joined the #IAm911 movement, and I’m asking you to join me if you haven’t already.
It’s Up to Us
We need two things from the SOC:
Our professional organization, APCO International, went to bat for us with sound arguments and data showing how our role has evolved over the last 10 years. So have the National Emergency Number Association and the non-partisan legislative committee Next-Generation 9-1-1 Caucus.
Now, it’s up to us to educate the SOC – and the general public – about the central role we play in making sure that citizens get the help they need. We can support the SOC in changing its stance by providing more education and facts. Through storytelling, we encompass the educational content at a personal level, while emphasizing fact. Education highlights the impact our calling has on others, both citizens and responders, as we allow our life stories to touch hearts and change minds.
The 10-year window for changes in the SOC system will close on September 20, 2016. If we miss this opportunity, there won’t be another one until 2026.
Telling the Stories
In the past couple of weeks, I have been inspired and energized as I read my fellow telecommunicators’ experiences and tributes on Twitter. The #IAm911 hashtag is a way for us to share the triumph and pain we experience every day as we do our jobs. It highlights the work we do daily and the efforts, dedication and skill required to don that headset, answer that emergency call, notify responders and coordinate the best possible outcome to life’s unthinkable tragedies.
How to get involved
To be clear, this re-categorization will change nothing about the role we play or the way we are compensated. What it will do is provide official recognition of our work as first first responders.
Watch this video to find out how you can get more involved.
Submit formal comments to the SOC, educating them about the ways that we protect the lives and safety of the public and our fellow emergency responders.
Contact your U.S. senator and the members of the Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus. You can get information and guides on the APCO website. Encourage your family and friends to engage in this initiative and support you. This includes our field partners. Let them know the importance of this movement. This is not something we can accomplish alone; we need our beloved Law Enforcement, Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians to rally alongside us.
Tell your stories on Twitter using the #IAm911 hashtag. Let’s keep fighting for this. We’re all in it together.
Gary Bell, Waukesha County, Director of Communications, 9-1-1