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Back to Archives | Back to October 2006 Contents 

Advances & Applications

Oklahoma City Partners with NICE Systems to Improve Infrastructure
NICE Systems announces that it will provide Oklahoma City with an integrated solution for capturing and managing emergency communications. The new NICE solution is being implemented as part of an initiative to upgrade the city's critical public safety infrastructure. The city invested in the new NICE solution in conjunction with other improvements designed to boost public safety, including a new EDACS trunked radio system from M/A-COM and a state-of the-art emergency communication center built to withstand an F5 tornado.

The communication center, which went online earlier this year, is equipped with VoIP phones for dispatcher and administrative use and employs circuit-switched telephony for incoming 911 calls. Handling police, fire, and EMS calls, the consolidated center also serves as the hub for the city's new M/A-COM trunked radio system. According to Kerry Wagnon, program director for Oklahoma City's Public Safety Capital Project Office, the ability to capture and reconstruct all of these different types of emergency communications was central to the city's selection of NICE. "Our citywide strategy is to move to Voice over IP, so it was a natural progression for us to use VoIP in our new 911 center," said Wagnon. "In addition to these VoIP interactions, we needed to record our 9-1-1 calls and EDACS trunked radio traffic too. Since NICE can capture and reconstruct all of these different types of emergency communications, the move to NICE made strategic sense for us."

When fully installed, the NICE solution will capture communications from 16 call-taker positions and interactions from 60 IP phones in use at the center. All of the radio communications from the city's M/A-COM trunked radio system, which is shared by all city departments, including police and fire, will be transmitted over two T1 lines and captured by NICE. "With our NICE solution, we'll be able to have as many talk groups as we want in our trunked radio system and still be able to capture them all," said Wagnon.
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BMS' Microwave Downlinks Systems for Mutual Aid
BMS, a manufacturer of analog and digital portable and fixed microwave transmitters, receivers, and accessories, announced that the Alachua County, Florida, Sheriff's Office is one of 12 local counties that has ordered a microwave silhouette receiver system.

BMS microwave downlinks allow aerial video to be transmitted live to ground receivers across district lines. This assists with mutual aid and teamwork when any first responder in the air can aid any first responder on the ground by showing them the aerial advantage. Colonel Gainey of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office spearheaded the purchase of multiple complete 6 GHz downlink systems that are being distributed to participating agencies in north central Florida. These downlink systems are designed to operate seamlessly throughout north central Florida so that all 12 neighboring counties can provide mutual aid throughout the area that spans from the panhandle of north Florida to Osceola County in central Florida. It is one of the largest mutual aid downlink systems in the country. Participating agencies in the region can share downlink video from their aircraft to the ground.

The microwave downlink system is designed to allow the participating county's airborne helicopters to send and share the live video from a pilot's aerial observation platform to personnel at headquarters and to personnel at the scene of the incident. The live video shows an incident in progress and is more efficient than a verbal description from the pilot. Receiver systems include a Silhouette ground tracking antenna receiver site for fixed building installations, and a portable briefcase receiver for real-time on-site video monitoring at the scene.

Down linked video of the incident can be received simultaneously at the scene and at the emergency management command centers. Gainey credits BMS' reliability and quality equipment as the deciding factor. This new downlink equipment will help all participating agencies communicate better.
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Kansas Improves Crime-Fighting Capability with Sagem Morpho AFIS
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) recently acquired a statewide AFIS from Sagem Morpho. This new system includes updated Sagem MetaMorpho Automated Fingerprint and Palm Print Identification System (AFPIS), the Morpho Archive and Retrieval System (MARS), DigiScan-Web fast ID stations, and RapID mobile fast ID terminals.

"After our extensive benchmark process, we are confident that Sagem Morpho will provide the best possible AFPIS system available today and for the future," observed David Sim, KBI special agent in charge. "This new system empowers Kansas law enforcement to link the criminal to his crime and close more cold cases. A fellow MetaMorpho user identified 232 previously unidentified latent cases, simply by loading old latents into the new system."

The Kansas system will include an online database of latents, fingerprints, palmprints, mug shots, scars, marks, and demographics. These searchable criminal records available statewide in realtime on the Web and designed to dramatically increase the crime-solving capabilities of all law enforcement agencies throughout Kansas and the region. It will be fully integrated with the state's computerized criminal history (CCH) system, the FBI IAFIS, and regional state systems.

The MetaMorpho is designed to provide an evolutionary platform, able to incorporate new functions and COTS software/hardware components such as the RapID or DigiScan Web. DigiScan and RapID fulfill real-time identification needs. They allow fingerprint capture using forensic-quality optical scanners that transmit prints to a central search site. RapID is a wireless mobile terminal for use on patrol to check a suspect's identity on the spot, while DigiScan is a desktop providing a large display and user-friendly interface.
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CourtNotify Subpoena Management System by Orion Communications, Inc.
In the past, the court system notified officers to appear in court through numerous paper documents that were manually generated by police and court employees. Scheduling had become a reactive process, resulting in increased costs and delayed court case flow. Excessive administrative support was necessary to coordinate complex scheduling and ensure accountability.

The Dallas County police and district attorney deployed a time and money saving solution - the CourtNotify Subpoena Management System. As a result, all agencies in the Dallas County area use online tools such as e-mail, Web screens, mobile data terminals, and handheld devices to automate over 20,000 notifications a month to the Dallas County police departments with documented response confirmations. Escalated alerts ensure that required Dallas witnesses are aware of subpoena schedules.

"With 5,000 subpoenas a week, we spend approximately $1.7 million a year in overtime for our employees to make court appearances," said Lieutenant Gene Summers, IT manager for the Dallas Police Department. "By using CourtNotify to instantaneously notify employees of any cancellations or changes, we can efficiently manage taxpayer money. And, we've been able to reduce our administrative staff by 80 percent, only one month after CourtNotify was deployed."

Each user has a Web-dashboard and calendar showing their scheduled appearance dates, docket details, and communications log. Prosecutors can reset and confirm court dates, check officers' schedules, and review conflicts in realtime when a case or docket is rescheduled.

For the Dallas Police Department, CourtNotify removes 80 percent of its court administration costs, according to the company. Plus, previously paid overtime for unnecessary court appearances has been reduced more than 50 percent. CourtNotify has not only helped achieve savings but also enabled officers to spend more time in the field protecting citizens. ■

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From The Police Chief, vol. 73, no. 10, October 2006. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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