When are we going to get it?
…how many more lives could be saved if we didn’t have to depend on a phone call or other means of communications?
Have you noticed what is going on north of the border? Lots of hockey, hey. Yes, but the Canadians also seem to get it when it comes to interoperability. Last month’s MRT cover story is a great example, but also look at this month’s article, “Ottawa’s Communications Consummé,” by James Careless on page 14.
I’ve mentioned before that interoperability is one of my pet peeves when it comes to public safety. In fact, I’ve mentioned it in every column I’ve written for MRT. And I will continue to be the voice for it. From the response I’ve gotten from some of you, it’s a common concern. Yet, as I look at what is going on in the United States, I just shake my head and start a Dennis Miller rant.
When is interoperability going to become a priority? We don’t need another Columbine so everyone can wring their hands, look at each other and comment, “We definitely have to do something. Sometime. When someone else pays for it.”
Yet, that is what is happening. Unless we educate decision makers (i.e. state legislatures and Congress) nothing significant is going to happen.
Education is exactly what the National Institute of Justice’s Advanced Generation of Interoperability Law Enforcement (AGILE) is trying to do. I had the opportunity to visit with Tom Tolman and Gene McGahey from the Nation Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, Rocky Mountain, who provided me with a review copy of NIJ’s Interoperability Resource CD. All I can say is this CD is terrific.
The CD offers information on radio communications inter-operability and information sharing. Included are an executive technology brief, three fundamental guidebooks, a wireless interoperability analysis, information on interoperability projects and tests, glossary and acronyms guides, a Web links section and even a way to get feedback to AGILE.
The CD also features an outstanding article, “Can We Talk?” that is accompanied by a 14-minute video. Whew! Talk about information-packed. They probably included the proverbial kitchen sink if I looked harder.
I applaud the NIJ for this fine effort. It’s this kind of product that needs to be targeted at the decision makers. Getting it into hands of law enforcement is one thing, having it in the hands of the decision makers is another.
This issue needs to be on the agenda of every decision maker at the local, state and federal level. Yet, when do we ever hear a peep about the issue unless some misdirected kid gets his/her hands on a gun and creates havoc? Let’s start taking the Peter Finch approach (from the movie “Network”), and tell our legislators we are “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”
Sure, crime may be down in some of our major cities, but how many more lives could be saved if we didn’t have to depend on a phone call or other means of communications?
By the way, if you’d like a copy of the CD contact the NIJ at [email protected].