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Life at MCP: Meet Joe Wheeler, VP of Justice and Courts

Over the last two years, Mission Critical Partners has grown significantly through acquisition, starting with Athena Advanced Networks in 2018, and continuing with Black & Veatch Public Safety and URL Integration last year. Last month, MCP announced its latest acquisition, Seattle-based MTG Management Consultants. The subject-matter experts who are joining MCP will enable us to better serve clients in the public-safety and justice communities by helping them enhance data integration and address their technology challenges.

The Key Buzzword at MCP These Days Is ‘Growth’

Last week, Mission Critical Partners (MCP) announced the acquisition of MTG Management Consultants (MTG), a Seattle-based firm that provides strategy and management services to local, county and state government entities. The acquisition further strengthens MCP’s credentials as the leading provider of consulting services—as well as data-integration, network and cybersecurity solutions—for public safety and justice sector clients.

More on that in a bit—but first, a history lesson that will provide some context for this development.

2020—Year in Review

The year 2020 was fraught with challenges, most notably those generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Public safety and justice agencies from coast to coast were forced to implement, virtually overnight, new operational strategies that became necessary because employees were unable to work in their brick-and-mortar facilities, either due to illness or various shelter-in-place orders. In some cases, agencies had to rapidly execute protective measures for those employees who could arrive at work, driven by social-distancing mandates.

Improved Criminal-Justice Outcomes Driven by Better-Integrated Data Will Rebuild Citizen Trust

An incredible amount of data exists in the world, and it’s going to increase by orders of magnitude. In fact, some experts believe that the amount of data available worldwide will increase by 300 percent by 2025—a short five years from now. That’s truly mind-boggling.

On a high level, more and better data leads to enhanced decision-making and improved outcomes, regardless of one’s business. But at ground level, for data to be useful it needs to be “actionable,” because a tsunami of raw information would be unmanageable at best, overwhelming at worst. This is especially true in the public-safety and criminal-justice environments, where lives are on the line and every second matters. There’s simply no time, in the moment, to sift through a big pile of data and try to make sense of it.

A Few Thoughts on Data Integration for Public Safety Agencies

There was a time, not that long ago, when voice communications were king in the public safety community, and data communications were an afterthought. This largely was driven by the limitations of narrowband wireless systems. In the earliest days of data communications, such systems delivered throughput rates of 9,600 baud, which enabled the equivalent of text messages. Things improved a bit when data generated to and from field personnel was transmitted via air cards provisioned by commercial wireless carriers, but only modestly—the largest files that could be transmitted then were mug shots, and they often took a long time to arrive, if they arrived at all.

Advances in Records Management Systems for Law Enforcement Agencies

In policing, records management systems (RMS) enable agencies to store, retrieve, and view information that is critical to law enforcement operations, from crime-solving to trend analysis and enhanced case management. While this technology is the cornerstone for agencies to effectively serve and protect their communities, it has remained largely unchanged for decades.

Resources to Get Your Agency Across the NIBRS Transition Finish Line

Considerable inconsistency traditionally has existed in terms of how law enforcement agencies from coast to coast gather and report crime data, as well as the types of data captured. The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) was created to address that shortcoming.

NIBRS has defined standard ways of describing an incident, and collecting the data associated with it, so that apples-to-apples comparisons can be made at the national level. The idea is that, to truly have a national picture of crime in the U.S., data has to be collected in the same manner, using the same nomenclature, from the country’s largest law-enforcement agency—the New York City Police Department—to its smallest.

Georgia Criminal Justice System Realizes Faster Case Processing and More Informed Decision-Making with Statewide CJEP Project

When the Georgia Governor's Office charged a team of criminal justice stakeholders with accessing the efficiencies that could be gained from electronic court filing, statewide criminal justice stakeholders set out to find ways in which documents and information could be seamlessly shared between systems. The State’s goal to improve criminal-history disposition match rates quickly expanded to the realization that real, sustainable statewide improvements would significantly improve the flow of justice information from the beginning to the end of the criminal case lifecycle. At that time, the administration was determined to improve the performance of the state’s criminal justice system to better protect public safety and control spending.

An Effective Way to Improve Evidence Management

An axiom within the criminal-justice community is that the more evidence that can be captured and leveraged by the prosecution, the better. Corollary to that axiom, however, is that evidence—regardless of type or quantity—has no utility if it is not easily accessed and shared, or worse, somehow falls through the cracks. The way to prevent such problems from occurring is to deploy a digital evidence management solution, or DEMS.

Call-Handling and Dispatch Technology Considerations for ECCs

First responders historically have arrived at an emergency scene armed with only the information that emergency communications center (ECC) telecommunicators extracted while talking with a 911 caller. However, such callers usually are experiencing one of the worst moments of their lives, which makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most to deliver complete, coherent information. As a result, first responders are left to piece together what to expect upon arrival.

Whitepaper Cautions Against Using TIGER Data for GIS Data Development

Geographic information system (GIS) data is a foundational component in the migration to, and continuing operation of, Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems.

But developing local GIS data so that it aligns with NG911 standards is a laborious and time-consuming process that can take months or years to complete.

Despite this, MCP’s Robert Horne, one of the firm’s GIS gurus, cautions in a recent whitepaper against taking shortcuts in developing GIS data for use in a NG911 environment. Spe cifically, Robert writes that public safety agencies should avoid using the U.S. Census Bureau’s open-source Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data for 911 call-routing purposes. TIGER data is available free of charge, but does not meet basic public safety requirements, nor the established NG911 standards, Robert writes. This is due to incomplete data attribution, poor spatial accuracy, incomplete coverage of the PSAP’s jurisdictional footprint, inaccurate street names and address ranges, and a lagging data update schedule. local GIS data so that it aligns with NG911 standards is a laborious and time-c onsuming process that can take months or years to complete.

The Public Safety Communications Challenges We’re Tackling in 2020

Earlier this year, public safety communications professionals from across the country came together in Austin, TX, to discuss and address the most pressing issues facing the industry at NENA’s Standards & Best Practices Conference. We discussed in a previous blog post why events like this one are critical to our industry’s success in continuing to improve emergency response outcomes. Which challenges are we tackling this year and what’s next for 911?