MCP Insights

Be Wary of Using Commercial Broadband Networks for Public Safety Voice

Posted on January 8, 2021 by Scott Neal

More than ever, broadband communications networks are essential to the public safety and justice communities. Such networks easily transmit highly bandwidth-intensive files, e.g., video and building floor plans, that would choke a narrowband network. Such files enhance situational awareness for incident commanders and other officials—as well as emergency responders and jail/prison officers—by orders of magnitude, which in turn helps them do their jobs better.

But there’s a flip side to broadband communications networks of which the public safety community needs to take seriously. Such networks typically are owned and operated by commercial entities, and because of this public safety agencies that contract for broadband services typically do not receive the performance guarantees and—even more importantly—the visibility into these networks that they’re used to receiving from the networks that they own and operate, for example, their land mobile radio (LMR) systems.

Consequently, public safety agencies should proceed carefully when they consider whether to contract with any commercial entity for broadband services.

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A Few Thoughts on Data Integration for Public Safety Agencies

Posted on November 24, 2020 by Scott Neal

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.

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An Effective Way to Improve Evidence Management

Posted on July 31, 2020 by Darrin Reilly

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.

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Call-Handling and Dispatch Technology Considerations for ECCs

Posted on July 10, 2020 by Eric Caddy

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.

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Whitepaper Cautions Against Using TIGER Data for GIS Data Development

Posted on May 21, 2020 by Glenn Bischoff

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.
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