FRESH IDEAS IN PUBLIC SAFETY


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      • Better Data. Greater Awareness. Lives Saved. RapidSOS Expands Into CommandCentral

        Published 46 days ago by Bradley Janitz
        • Intelligence
        • EMS
        • NG9-1-1 Dispatch
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        Precise 9-1-1 caller location from RapidSOS has been integrated with CommandCentral to help find and better respond to those in need.

        In April, we announced a partnership with RapidSOS to deliver precise location information for U.S. 9-1-1 calls made from smartphones. The initial integration shared precise location across the emergency call, from citizens in need to call-takers using our CallWorks application. We are now pleased to announce the expansion of this valuable functionality, and more, into our CommandCentral platform, starting with CommandCentral Inform.

        CommandCentral Inform, which provides a map-based, common operating picture of events and resource locations, will now include a 9-1-1 call data layer to display caller locations alongside other critical operational information. But even better, is the ability for CommandCentral Inform to also display additional data sent from the smartphone upon a call being made. This could include health information of the caller, demographic information and even telematics from connected cars, wearables and other IoT data sources - all to provide greater context to the call.

        By expanding into the CommandCentral platform, this vital information is now not only accessible to Call Takers using CallWorks, but also Supervisors, Analysts, Command Staff and even First Responders who are in need of increased situational awareness for better decision making.

        This integration also shows our increased commitment to providing the most seamlessly integrated public safety software suite, from call intake to incident resolution. “We are able to provide an uninterrupted flow of information. This creates more efficient and streamlined workflows” said Andrew Sinclair, the newly appointed head of Motorola Solutions’ Software Enterprise. “Because of integration across the portfolio, first responders are able to act more collaboratively and efficiently and ultimately be that much more successful.”

        "The integration of data from the RapidSOS NG9-1-1 Clearinghouse into CommandCentral Inform creates an unprecedented flow of information around an emergency," said Michael Martin, CEO of RapidSOS. "The result is accelerated response, first responders with unparalleled situational awareness, and lives saved."

        This new integration will be on display at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 2017 Annual Conference & Expo August 13th - 16th in Denver, Colorado at both the Motorola Solutions booth #801 and RapidSOS booth #747.

        Bradley Janitz is Global Marketing Manager at Motorola Solutions.

      • 9-1-1 Operations: More than Just a Voice. What It Means to Truly Trust

        Published 48 days ago by Charlynn Flaherty
        • EMS
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        At Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications, we know that trust is the most important factor. Public-safety personnel must trust each other and trust that their communications and information systems are state-of-the-art. Only then will citizens who rely on us be able to trust that we can help keep them safe.

        Trust The People

        Prince George’s County, VA, stretches from the Potomac River west and south for almost 500 square miles. It comprises 18 municipal jurisdictions and more than 900,000 people.

        Keeping the county’s citizenry safe and well-informed is the mission of the Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications office. We handle some 1.8 million calls a year, supporting police, fire, EMS, the Sheriff’s Office and 18 municipal jurisdictions within the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area.

        Our work must be based on trust. Each of these agencies must be confident that we've provided all the vital information they need to do their jobs when they get on the scene. We know that we must obtain critical information that will guide first responders.

        At the same time, as the first point of contact for callers, we realize that callers often need support and comfort as they wait for help to arrive. In fact, sometimes it's our telecommunicators themselves who provide life-saving help, for example, instructing them in first aid techniques or CPR.

        Trust The Technology

        In order to provide this level of support to so many citizens and public agencies, we have to be sure that we can access accurate information as quickly as possible. In 2011, the county opened a new facility that is state-of-the-art and ready for next-generation 9-1-1. In 2015, we opened the Prince George’s County Emergency Operations Center. This one-of-a-kind facility was designed to provide the highest level of service to all of the public safety and public service agencies in the county. It also serves as Homeland Security headquarters and the 9-1-1 dispatch backup center.

        Because we take calls for so many different entities in the county, integration is extremely important. While computer-aided dispatch is the core of all public safety, there are many other areas where our records management system must interoperate with those of other agencies.

        We have a valuable technology partner to help ensure that all our communications, dispatch and records management connect seamlessly.

        Trust Each Other

        Technology is half of the equation. The other half is our staff that includes 34 positions in the primary PSAP. When citizens call the 9-1-1 center, they can be sure that the people they’re talking to have been trained to the highest standards – and, even more important – that they are committed to providing every kind of help they need.

        We're proud that our Emergency Operations Center is one of only six in the world that have received a Triple Accredited Center of Excellence (Tri-ACE) rating from the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch. That means that we can be proud that we're providing our agencies and the public with the very highest level of service.

        Any time I feel stressed, all I have to do is walk through the 9-1-1 center and the dispatch area, and I remember why we do this: because our community relies on us.

        We are much more than just a voice behind the call. Learn more about us and our center.

        Charlynn Flaherty is Associate Director of Public Safety Communications. 

      • Walking Alongside Law Enforcement – I’ve Learned so Much

        Published 46 days ago by Julie Folden
        • EMS
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        This blog is the second in the “Walk in Your Shoes” series. lt highlights our commitment to building experience focused software applications to support the important job of protecting citizens of this great nation.  Read the first blog Walk in Your Shoes – The Foundation of Customer-Focused Software Applications. 

        Creating Police Mobility Applications

        Getting out of a car and following a police officer through his daily routine.  Asking probing questions about what would make their job easier.  Spending time with an officer and doing side-by-side comparisons of different products and applications. That’s all part of my research role; requiring me to “Walk in Your Shoes” for an hour, an afternoon or an entire shift.  The results of my field interviews are new applications and product enhancements that make an officer’s job easier.

        One of the big pain points officers have identified is the desire to have more flexibility in choosing a smartphone device. They want to be able to run law enforcement applications on either an iOS or Android® handheld device. That input has been heard loud and clear by our design teams, so the latest release of the our handheld mobile application can now operate on either iOS or Android devices. This gives agencies, regardless of the device, real-time access to CAD incidents, location of responding officers, vehicle and person queries, unit status, geofence alerts, driving directions and more.

        The other big request I hear is:  “I want to do everything on my smartphone that I can do on a laptop. I want full mobility away from the vehicle.”  In addition to getting information about an incident, or the location of responding officers  I talk to want to  be able to issue citations and do field reports when on the scene, while away from my vehicle.  And they want to seamlessly share the information between smart phones, in-vehicle computers and the command center. To provide them that capability we are now offering Citations and Forms, a highly configurable, complement to the handheld platform.  Now, it is easy to issue a ticket, document with photos, close out an incident, complete a field interview form, get signatures, and even print; all from a smartphone or tablet using the iOS or Android platform.  And the information gathered on a handheld device, is available on in-vehicle solution as well,  allowing reports to be started on the scene and completed in the vehicle where a full keyboard is available for additional annotations and narratives.

        It is exciting to convert what I learn from riding and/or walking along side law enforcement into product offerings. Introducing applications and functionality into the marketplace that are the direct result of officer inputs is rewarding both for me and for our customers.  

        Receiving inputs from first responders never gets old. If you are going to be at APCO 2017, please stop by the Motorola Solutions Booth #801, try out our newest applications and share your thoughts. My colleagues and I would love to hear your opinion about our handheld products so we can continue to offer enhanced customer focused applications.

         

         

         

        Julie Folden is Mobility Product Manager at Motorola Solutions. Her job is to understand and document the daily activities of police, fire, and EMS personnel to help design and create the best public safety mobile and handheld applications for both today and tomorrow. She takes her job seriously having completed over 500 public safety experiential visits over the past 15 years. 

      • What We Learned By Moving To Next Generation 9-1-1 Technology

        Published 55 days ago by Tom Butts
        • EMS
        • NG9-1-1 Dispatch
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        NG9-1-1 ALLOWS US TO PROVIDE HIGH-PERFORMANCE SERVICE

        Gloucester County is big, diverse and thriving. We’re a tight-knit community that’s large enough to leverage national and state resources, and yet small enough so that residents never feel that our services are impersonal. They know they can rely on county personnel to provide individual help whenever they need it.

        Emergency services, delivered through the Gloucester County Emergency Response Center, are a perfect example of this. By collaborating with all 24 of our municipalities on 9-1-1 dispatch and emergency management, we can deliver the necessary response quickly and effectively. We’ve reduced the time of response for emergencies and increased the quality of that response. People here feel safe because of that.

        WE GAINED BETTER INTEROPERABILITY AND ACCURACY

        More than 1,500 police officers and 300 civilians provide a full range of law enforcement services to nearly 900,000 residents and business owners, while our Emergency Response Center dispatches police, fire and emergency medical services for 24 towns in Gloucester County, as well as for five towns in the neighboring Atlantic County. The Gloucester County Fire/EMS Department alone responded to more than 145,000 calls in 2016.

        With so many different emergency services, interoperability is crucial, so we had to upgrade to the latest next generation 9-1-1 technology regardless of how complicated we thought it would be. Once we started the process, it went quicker than we realized. We also recently upgraded to a push-to-talk solution that allows all our first responders, as well as supervisors and administrators, to communicate with each other in a device-agnostic manner.

        WE ARE NOW ABLE TO RESPOND TO CITIZENS WHO CAN’T CALL 9-1-1, BUT CAN TEXT

        As citizens, we use so many more communication channels than we used to. For many of us, texting is our first thought when we need to reach someone. As first responders, we know that we must be responsive to our customers, no matter how they try to reach us.

        With a growing population and rapid changes in technology, we knew it was important to bring new capabilities in an effort to help citizens in times of need. That included upgrading our call center technology to one that was ready for text to 9-1-1.

        We pride ourselves on being innovative, collaborative and doing things that make a difference for people who live here.

        This is a place where people want to stay, where they want to invest in their future. Businesses want to stay here because they know our future is bright. And the same goes for our community’s first responders and emergency telecommunicators. All of us who work in emergency response do it for the reward of helping people with vital information, support or rescue. We’re a central part of the life of Gloucester County, and we love what we do.

        Tom Butts is Director of 9-1-1, Gloucester County Emergency Response.

      • Walk in Your Shoes – The Foundation of Customer-Focused Software Applications

        Published May 15 2017, 10:02 PM by Julie Folden
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        May 15-20th is Police Week in the US, a time to honor law enforcement personnel. Take the time to say thanks this week. “Walk in Your Shoes” is the first in a series where we will highlight our commitment to building experience focused software applications to support the important job of protecting citizens of this great nation.

        Sirens blare as we speed to an incident; a 9-1-1 potential domestic abuse call requires us to proceed with caution; a downed tree on a conservation trail means we trek through a muddy field. I’ve experienced it all, as I have walked in the shoes of many different public safety personnel. This is an important part of my job at Motorola Solutions – experiencing and documenting the working environment of public safety personnel.

        Showing up for roll call and getting assigned to shadow an officer for the day always gets my adrenaline pumping because each ride-along is unique. But what they all have in common is the ability for me to interact with public safety personnel in their environment, not a lab. I get to join police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel as they go about their daily tasks while I observe, question, and learn about their interactions and technology needs.   

        From ride-alongs, walk-alongs, and station visits, the knowledge gained goes into the development of new mobile and handheld software applications and also helps our customers realize the full potential of a software platform. Spending 4-6 hours with an officer really gives me a sense of what their day is like. I watch them interact with their current equipment; understand what they like, what they do not like, what they wish they had. I document how new applications or changes to a current product can enhance their job function and then I work with design engineers to implement.

        An example of something we learned from walking in our customers' shoes is the difference between law enforcement and fire incident management. As a result we do not have a one size fits all product. We have adapted the dashboard to make them different. The police dashboard offers field initiation and queries while the Fire Dashboard is more status monitor focused.  

        As a software product manager, having the ability to spend time with end users has resulted in the PremierOne Mobile and Handheld software portfolio being intuitive and easy to use. In the words of the Ventura Police Department, California:

        “PremierOne is so much more user-friendly than anything we’ve seen or used before. Everything is right at your fingertips both for dispatchers and for officers in the field. Once you enter a call and are looking at an incident, you can click on tabs to get everything you need about the incident, such as prior incident information, potential hazards, maps, and multimedia attachments. It’s much easier to operate the system to get the job done.”

        – Commander David Wilson, Ventura PD, California.  

        For more information, check out the Ventura PD Case study.

        _________________________________________________________

        Julie Folden is Mobility Product Manager at Motorola Solutions.  

        Her job is to understand and document the daily activities of police, fire, and EMS personnel to help software development teams to create the best mobile and handheld applications for both today and tomorrow. She takes her job seriously having completed over 500 public safety experiential visits over the past 15 years.  

      • Insights from a Live Hacking Demonstration - Why Security Patching is Critical

        Published May 02 2017, 4:44 PM by Wendell Robinson
        • EMS
        • Cybersecurity
        • System Management
        • Fire
        • Law Enforcement

        I recently attended IWCE, a conference focused on educating end-users and operators on the trends and evolving technologies taking place with Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems. My mission at the show was to increase cybersecurity awareness. LMR systems are no longer entirely closed networks or immune from cyber threats. If anything, serving as a mission-critical, communication component for government and public safety agencies, they have a propensity of gaining the attention of hackers. Government entities are being attacked at twice the rate of other industries across the board.

        My goal was to raise awareness about the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures for LMR systems with a live hacking demonstration. From my demos, here were the common insights I gleaned from the LMR end-users and system operators I met:  

        Cybersecurity education is still needed. Only a small subset of those I spoke to had a sound understanding of their LMR system’s level of risk. Others were aware that their systems are now vulnerable to cyber threats. However, they were not knowledgeable of how their system can be compromised; their risk posture; or how to protect their systems from and respond to cyber intrusions.

        Hackers aren’t that sophisticated. Most of the individuals I spoke to weren’t aware that you don’t have to be a brilliant hacker to create something that can comprise a system. Without a great deal of knowledge, hackers can create an exploit that can work on a LMR system. Everything needed is available through a few clicks of the button. A conference attendee that person I spoke to said, “I had no idea it was that simple!”

        Chaos and disruption is the end goal. During my demo, I reviewed various examples of the actions hackers can take once in their systems. I explained how a hacker can upload code to overwrite operating software files to disrupt the network, launch web browser that redirect system users to a malicious website, and execute commands that can remotely shutdown and reboot a system server. Most system assaults are directed at disrupting communication at some level.

        Most successful attacks are based on known vulnerabilities. The “A Ha!!” moment came when I pointed out that most attacks are based on known system vulnerabilities – 75% according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, the good news is that these vulnerabilities have patches that can be applied to systems. Security patching is one of the first and important steps anyone can take to mitigate cybersecurity threats.

        From my conversations at the show, the LMR end-users and operators I spoke to are more aware that their systems are vulnerable to cyber intrusions. However, it’s important that everyone understands their system’s risk posture and how to proactively address cyber threats. There isn’t room for complacency when safeguarding a mission-critical, LMR system. While there are many strategies and options available, there is one action everyone should take to mitigate cyber threats—regular security patching. For our customers, we offer this service with rigor by pre-testing and validating all required patches to ensure they don’t cause any disruption when installed. If you don’t patch, you’re at greater risk to get hacked. Why let that happen? Learn more at motorolasolutions.com/cybersecurity.

        Wendell Robinson is Lead Cybersecurity Services Manager at Motorola Solutions. 

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