Thursday, March 31, 2005

RAND | How Prepared Are State and Local Law Enforcement for Terrorism?: "After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created. It is aimed at unifying federal capabilities and protecting the country from future terrorist attacks.

Within DHS, the Office of State and Local Governments Cooperation and Preparedness (SLGCP) is charged with coordinating first-responder terrorism preparedness efforts and working with state and local first responders to improve terrorism preparedness in such areas as training, exercises, and equipment support. SLGCP is also responsible for directing terrorism-preparedness grant programs at the federal level for all emergency response providers and for measuring programmatic performance and improvements in domestic preparedness.

To meet this charge, DHS (and SLGCP) need to collect information on how first responders and other emergency responders are meeting the challenges of their new terrorism-related responsibilities. To help in this effort, the RAND Corporation, with support from the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, surveyed 209 local and all 50 state law enforcement agencies, achieving response rates of 81 and 78 percent, respectively."
Finding the Interoperability SWEET - by Charles Werner: "For decades, interoperable communications have been a documented public safety problem. Following 9/11, this communications nightmare was brought to the forefront. Fortunately, the combination of federal funding and new technology availed many affordable solutions for first responders. This article provides an overview that can be deployed by any discipline (Fire, Law Enforcement and EMS)."
Radio woes stymie Arizona security: "More than three years after the 9/11 attack, Arizona's terrorism response system remains stymied by a communications clog that also hampered rescue efforts in the World Trade Center.
Put simply, firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers sometimes cannot talk to each other because their radio systems aren't synchronized. That problem emerged Tuesday as the dominant complaint at a statewide Homeland Security Summit that drew more than 200 Arizona civil defense leaders to downtown Phoenix. "
IETF eyes 'Net emergency communications: "The IETF has kicked off an effort to develop communications protocols needed to support emergency communications over the Internet. The new IETF working group is called Emergency Context Resolutions with Internet Technologies (ECRIT). ECRIT is looking for a way to route emergency calls over the Internet similar to the way in which 911 calls are routed over the public switched telephone network (PSTN). If successful, ECRIT would have a significant effect on service providers, including traditional wireline and wireless carriers, ISPs and start-up VoIP providers, because they would need to upgrade network hardware and software to support any new system."

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

An important new report on interoperability: "Toward Interoperable First Response - Wireless services that accommodate disparate federal, state, and local systems are key to a coordinated first response to US public-safety threats."

Monday, March 28, 2005

State of Georgia Interoperability Initiatives: "Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced two projects designed to improve communication between Georgia law enforcement and first responders towards during emergency situations. Public safety agencies communicate over different frequencies including VHF, UHF and 800 MHz. The variety of communication methods cause difficulty for neighboring jurisdictions to request assistance during major incidents. According to members of Georgia's first responder community, reliable communications that cross jurisdictional lines is a key initiative on the local, state and national level. "

Sunday, March 27, 2005

SAFECOM Announces Tool for Creating Statewide Interoperable Communications"The Department of Homeland Security’s SAFECOM Program and the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility recently announced a tool with a step-by-step process for developing a locally-driven statewide strategic plan for enhancing communications interoperability. The Statewide Communications Interoperability Planning Methodology, which can be downloaded from SAFECOM’s Web site, is based on the strategic planning approach jointly developed and tested by the Commonwealth of Virginia and OIC/SAFECOM to create the Virginia statewide interoperability plan in 2004."

Monday, March 21, 2005

Agencies train for mass casualties: "Some 800 first-responders and law officers from about 20 agencies - who don't all speak the same language - are training here this month as part of a Tucson Fire Department mass casualty training program. The agencies range from police, who speak in a '10-code,' to area fire departments and medical personnel who speak their own language, along with federal agencies and private industry."
Police: Manhunt marred by poor communication: "Atlanta's police chief Friday said last week's deadly courthouse shooting and the subsequent manhunt for a suspect points to the need for improvements in communications and leadership protocol during emergencies."

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Colorado state system funding: "State grant funds totaling $13 million to improve the local and state communications network in rural areas are now available, and Cortez may apply for the funds that would enable fire and police responders to exchange clearer messages in areas with bad reception. The funds were opened up by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs in cooperation with the Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Information Technology. The monies will go toward updating the state's Digital Trunk Radio system infrastructure, including microwave towers and site equipment, said Barbara Kirkmeyer, spokesperson for DOLA. The DTR system's construction began in 1998, providing a single system in Colorado establishing radio communication among public safety and emergency responders. The system's building and design has been done through partnerships between state local agencies."

Monday, March 14, 2005

'Interoperability' goal of Big Sky 11: "In the end, Montanans should be safer. In the meantime, counties are struggling to lay the groundwork for a statewide communication system that will cost millions and is still years from reality."

Friday, March 04, 2005

Homeland Security Funds Split California Interests: "At first blush, a vote to allocate $5.6 million for an emergency radio system to link Alameda and Contra Costa counties signaled unprecedented regional cooperation driven by homeland security concerns. But beneath the sunny veneer of the Feb. 9 vote by a two-county committee that administers federal grant funds for the East Bay is a fragile alliance that continues to feel the strain of partners clamoring to make sure their individual needs are met."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Homeland funds split East Bay: "OAKLAND - At first blush, a vote to allocate $5.6 million for an emergency radio system to link Alameda and Contra Costa counties signaled unprecedented regional cooperation driven by homeland security concerns."
Mississippi legislature is looking to build a statewide radio system: "Senate Bill 2514, which passed the Senate earlier this month and is now in both the House public utilities and appropriations committees, would create the Mississippi Wireless Communication Commission. Its aim would be to investigate 'implementing a statewide radio communications system to serve wireless users in state and local governments and those private entities that enter into a partnership with the commission.'"
Feds warn city on incompatible radios: "Oakland advised not to buy handhelds that won't talk with area-wide emergency network. Federal radio experts are advising Oakland against plans to buy thousands of upgraded handheld radios for its fire, police and other agencies unless the radios can talk seamlessly with a larger, East Bay-wide network under development."