The Mobile Transformation
Leveraging mobile technology and wireless connectivity in public safety
We’re fast becoming used to how wireless technologies, mobile computers and applications are transforming our personal lives, but what changes the way we communicate personally can also change the way fire, law enforcement, EMS and public safety communications professionals perform their jobs.
Viewing real-time video at the fire scene, delivering electronic tickets at the side of the road, transmitting EKG or 12-lead data en route to the Emergency Department—these solutions are not only possible; they are becoming necessary as many municipal budgets are cut and public safety personnel must find ways to do more with less. And they’re all possible using rugged computers, tablets and wireless technology that connect emergency responders, vehicles, databases and fixed facilities.
In this webcast, you’ll learn:
■ Specific examples of how mobile technology and wireless connectivity is being used in police, fire and EMS agencies across the country.
■ How such technology operates as a force multiplier, allowing public safety agencies to be more efficient, safe and productive.
■ The benefits of wireless connectivity for fire, EMS and law enforcement, including increased access and GPS/location-based connections to facilities, databases and dispatchers; remote information filing/retrieval; and more efficient in-field reporting and incident management.
Trooper Aric Dowling Responds to Webcast Viewer Questions
Q: For future plans, what is the statewide 4G/3G coverage? Plans by vendors to provide statewide coverage?
A: We are now using new Sierra Wireless modems that allow 3G or 4G and will switch between them. We will continue to use multiple vendors, much of it based on reliability and coverage. We are not and have no plans to be dedicated to a single vendor.
Q: With the TOKENS are you worried about expiration or someone cloning them via network intercept?
A: The tokens expire on a predetermined date and a new one is issued shortly beforehand. They are timed to a secure server, not actually "linked" and all transmissions are done via VPN, also requiring a user specific PIN along with the token number. The security is pretty high on them.
Q: Does MSP intend to migrate these applications to LTE services from FirstNet?
A: All of our applications were built to be able to utilize multiple connection types and/or vendors. The VPN security features can be adapted as needed. I have not personally been involved in discussions about FirstNet and it's still fairly early to say much about any plans MI may have for that network. However, our applications are versatile enough to adapt fairly quickly as needed.
Q: Mobile Technology sounds great, but is this only for larger departments, assuming you can close posts. If you have a small department, you may only have one main post?
A: This project was made for having only a single Post to report to with the officers being away most if not all of the time. The whole point is that the Post is needed for much less than it was. A small department would frankly have been easier, with a single solution rather than having to find multiple solutions. A deployment for a smaller agency would therefore be somewhat cheaper.
Q: Trooper Dowling: Does your agency have a policy regarding your officers and use of these devices while driving? Many states restrict use of mobile devices such as phones and computers while in motion as this creates a distraction for the driver, potentially increasing their vulnerability for a crash.
A: We abide by all traffic laws in non-emergency circumstances and while the performance of our duties require a lot of multitasking, it isn't an excuse to drive unsafely. Our Troopers are very mindful of safety. Even while stopped we are still mindful not to be too distracted.
Q: You are located in a northern tier state. How do these electronic systems deal w/ severe cold weather? Do you experience limitations, damage to components, or other problems?
A: Some of the issues we have had in the past have influenced our purchasing decisions. For example, we switched to a solid state hard drive which performs much better in a cold environment. For some devices in the northern areas we purchase ruggedized components and the Troopers remove the MDC from the patrol car to safeguard components that are affected more, such as LCD screens, when the temperatures are subzero. For the most part, we don't experience too many issues when we follow this protocol.
Q: Can I ask if this system is used by crime scene officers? i.e. crime scenes processed and fingerprints, scene notes etc uploaded onto central law enforcement systems? If not, could this be possible in the future?
A: Yes, we are currently implementing a secure and encrypted system for uploading crime scene photos over our VPN connection (depending on file size and connection speed of course). The actual Forensics Laboratory uses their own secured system for forensic reports that further separates forensics from the general officer report system. I am not privy to any plans to combine those report storage servers at this time.
Q: How do you handle mobile office failures? Do officers have paper backup (cititations, MVA forms)? Do they have spare cruisers fully equipped and updated with current updates? (How much downtime for an officer to be off the street?)
A: Currently officers do have paper backups available, such as citation books and crash forms. Our R.P.P. project is in it's last phase and part of that will be to provide ready to install spare equipment with the techs who cover that area. For example, if your computer fails, another one can be installed in short order. If the problem is more extensive than the Trooper will use another patrol car.
| Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee is the Manager of Industry Solutions for Sprint Nextel Corporation, and is based in Reston, Va. He has been instrumental in shaping the Solutions and Partnering Strategy for Sprint in the Public Sector Industries, particularly State & Local Government, and Public Safety markets. Prior to Sprint-Nextel, he has held various Product Management and Development roles, supporting wireless solutions on both terrestrial and satellite networks.
| Aric Dowling
Trooper Aric Dowling joined the Michigan State Police in 2000 and has spent the last 12 years as a trooper, mainly on road patrol. Dowling worked six years on patrol out of the Metro North Post, in the northern part of southeast Michigan, where he worked out of satellite offices with local agencies to improve patrol area coverage. Dowling has also served in the undercover Criminal Investigations Division and the Detroit Freeway Post. In 2011, the Michigan State Police initiated a Regional Policing Plan, shifting from standard bricks-and-mortar posts to a more mobile squad-based policing force. Tpr. Dowling assisted in the development and implementation of this "mobile office" project, which reduced costs while increasing effectiveness, efficiency and visibility. In April 2012, Tpr. Dowling was reassigned to the MSP Headquarters in Lansing, Mich., where he continues to work on the MSP mobile office technology, applications and future plans.