POLICE Magazine

JUL 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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S P E C I A L R E P O R T • M I S S I O N C R I T I C A L C O M M U N I C AT I O N S 11 PHOTO: APCO INTERNATIONAL PHOTO: APCO INTERNATIONAL managing the tsunami of data that will flow into the 911 center from NG911 sys- tems and ultimately the NPSBN. No hu- man is capable of simultaneously juggling the number of data streams that will be generated when a major incident occurs. Consequently, PSAPs will need to deploy one or more data-analytics solutions to automate the process of triaging the data inputs and then flagging for the telecom- municator those that are most relevant and require their attention. Along such lines, researchers at the Mas- sachusetts Institute of Technology's Lin- coln Lab—in a joint project with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness—are working on a video-an- alytics platform that is designed to identify persons of interest based on certain physi- cal attributes, such as their apparel. • PSAPs need to start seeking tele- communicators with very different skill sets, such as the ability to analyze data. Or PSAPs may need to create a new posi- tion, the data-focused telecommunicator whose focus will not be on traditional call handling. e new position would man- age the data that flows into the 911 center from smartphones, sensors, and the like. Regardless, PSAPs need to start rethink- ing how they screen and hire candidates. • Records management and data stor- age systems need to be upgraded to ensure that they can handle data volumes that are sure to mushroom. Regarding stor- age, the key question involves whether the data will be stored onsite or in the cloud. PSAPs also need to balance data security with enabling accessibility for personnel whenever needed. Data needs to be share- able with other agencies, for instance, to enable predictive policing. • Regarding video, care must be taken concerning how the data is com- pressed and stored, to guarantee that it is court-admissible. • Both networks will generate an ex- plosion of data—including many new types—that will improve situational awareness and emergency response dra- matically. But the only way to ensure that the information will be pushed to first responders in the field from PSAPs, and vice versa, seamlessly and in real-time, is to integrate the networks to create a uni- fied communications platform. • Finally, law enforcement agencies will need to ensure that in-vehicle rugged laptops and mobile data terminals can re- ceive the multimedia data that PSAPs will push out. is is a critical consideration with life-and-death implications. In April 2018, a Cincinnati teenager died of as- phyxia aer the rear seat in his mini-van unexpectedly flipped, pinning him upside down. Despite the teenager making two calls to 911, police officers were unable to locate the van in which he was trapped. e Cincinnati Enquirer reported that mapping technology—like that used by the city's fire department—will be imple- mented in police department vehicles in the aermath of the tragedy. e technol- ogy reportedly will indicate on a map dis- play both the location of the caller and the dispatched officers, based on Global Posi- tioning System (GPS) coordinates, and is accurate to within 10 feet. Working Together Although the ability to pinpoint a caller's location with a high degree of accuracy certainly is advantageous, preparing for the NG911/NPSBN future will require much more than the ability to receive and plot GPS coordinates on an in-vehi- cle computer's map display. Such devices also will need to receive a wide variety of multimedia inputs—chiefly images and streaming video—if police officers and incident commanders in the field are to leverage the profoundly enhanced situ- ational awareness that will be available to them in the future. Now is the time to start preparing. Although huge accomplishments have occurred in the last decade, there is much to do. Technology is far ahead of our cur- rent capability to apply and use it to our collective advantage. We must all get in- volved and work together. NG911 profes- sionals and NPSBN professionals must get in the driver's seat and collaborate with industry vendors to develop practical solutions that meet public safety's unique needs. And really, the future is now. n Dana Wahlberg is director of Emergency Communications Networks, a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safe- ty. You can email her at dana.wahlberg@ state.mn.us .

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