12/16/2010 by NextGenWeb
NextGenWeb recently had the opportunity to speak with Fort Wayne, Indiana Chief of Police, Russell York. Fort Wayne, located in northeast Indiana, is the second largest city in the state with a population of approximately 251,000 people. Below, Chief York discusses the ways in which technology has helped to transform national security and public safety platforms in Indiana and throughout the country. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, broadband goes hand-in-hand with emergency preparedness and response.
NextGenWeb Question: Over the past decade, how have emergency preparedness and response been transformed by the advent of technology?
Chief York Answer: Over the past decade, emergency response and preparedness have been transformed significantly through the development of new technologies. Most notably would be in the area of data and voice communications. A decade ago, most public safety entities underwent the conversion from analog to 800 megahertz systems. Now, agencies are converting to the P25 systems which offer enhanced interoperability.
NextGenWeb: Can you discuss the importance of a 21st century communications infrastructure to ensuring that emergency response and public safety entities are able to communicate and share real-time information?
Chief York: In order to comply with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) guidelines, all public safety agencies should strive for interoperability.
NextGenWeb: What types of information are available to modern-day first responders that are transforming the way they do their jobs that were not available 10 years ago?
Chief York: The following are types of information and technology that are available to modern-day responders that were not available ten years ago:
• Information regarding individuals, vehicles, and property ( IDACS, NCIC) via on-board computers
• License plate recognition systems
• On-board audio and video systems
• Wireless Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) capability
• On-board scanners and printers to obtain license and registration information and print citations
• Global Positioning Systems on-board and through CAD
• Computer Aided Dispatching
NextGenWeb: Can you discuss a particular situation where you or someone you know in the field of emergency preparedness or response benefited from real-time information sharing made possible by broadband?
Chief York: The benefits of real time information sharing abound. On a daily basis, members of our agency are sharing information with agencies nationwide in the fight against crime.
NextGenWeb: Do you think the United States is in front of or behind the rest of the world in terms of 21st century communications infrastructure available to public safety professionals?
Chief York: I believe that the United States, in general, leads the world in terms of 21st Century communications infrastructure available and affordable to public safety professionals.