Law Enforcement Technology

JUL 2015

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COMMUNICATIONS 26 Law Enforcement Technology July 2015 www.officer.com I f there is one thing that major in- cidents like the Boston Marathon bombing and its subsequent man- hunt have taught us, is that interop- erability is no longer a luxury in law enforcement, but a necessity. Failures in communications technology have been noted in almost every large scale crisis event. They have added to the burden of law enforcement, hindered progress, and in cases such as the murders of of- ficers Wenjian Liu and Rafel Ramos of the NYPD, in the wake of the wide- spread civil unrest stemming from the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., may have potentially given officers on the street vital information in a timely fash- ion on the mentally unstable individual responsible if agency involved was us- ing some of the advanced technology available that allow BOLO's to be com- municated directly to mobile devices. In the case involving the NYPD offi- cers, in an unfortunate twist, the infor- mation received was communicated from a police department in Maryland (the offender's last known location) to the NYPD by fax. The information was received by the NYPD right around the time that the offender made contact with the officers, fatally wounding both. While the information flow on this specific incident may not have saved these officers due to time delays, it highlights one of the many needs law enforcement has in receiving up to date information in a timely manner. Catastrophe One of the other considerations in an interoperability network is redundancy options. What happens when the pri- mary method of communications is lost, such as what happened in Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or with the loss of the massive communications array at the top of the World Trade Center on 9/11? These are considerations that today's law enforcement executive needs to consider when planning communica- tions upgrades or switching to a newer, more robust communications network. Backup systems are now in place around the country; these rely on systems that operate on entirely different networks due to the failings seen in the wake of events just like 9/11 and Katrina. Frequency wars The race to interoperability by Ryan Mason

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