SOURCE: Center for Digital Government

August 04, 2005 13:13 ET

Safeguarding Our Communities Through Modern Communication Systems

New Strategy Paper From the Center for Digital Government Examines the Need for Federal, State and Local Governments to Create Safer Communities Through Mutual Aid and Critical Communications Interoperability

FOLSOM, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 4, 2005 -- Community emergencies -- from wild fires and floods to accidents and acts of terrorism -- underscore the importance of mutual aid among law enforcement and other responding agencies. The decades-old practice of mutual aid is rooted in the historic American ethic of "neighbors helping neighbors." The prospects for modern mutual aid are often frustrated by the inability of neighbors to talk to each other. At issue is the lack of interoperability among dissimilar communications systems used by various agencies. The need for multi-agency coordination and interoperability, where public safety officials can share information in a secure, real-time digital environment, is the subject of a new strategy paper from the Center for Digital Government, "Getting the Green Light: Safer Communities Through Mutual Aid and Critical Communications Interoperability."

Wireless communications interoperability allows public safety officials to share voice, video and data on demand, in real time, when needed, as authorized -- and across previously discrete systems. This report, underwritten by Alcatel, centers on the value of this system and uses the classic stop light metaphor to mark the path toward successful wireless implementations: red light barriers, which explore current communication systems used by governments that are outdated and cannot handle voice, data and video at the same time; yellow light phase, which discusses the challenges faced in moving toward interoperability; and green light, which outlines the broad approach toward safer communities through networked mutual aid. The discussion is augmented with additional references from the 9/11 Commission report, statistics and funding options.

"The paper provides a common reference point for practitioners, technologists, public executives and elected officials on the subject," says Dr. Paul W. Taylor, chief strategy officer at the Center for Digital Government. "The red and yellow sections anticipate many of the objections that some will bring to the table. The green is about cultivating the support of key political leaders and stakeholders, instituting cross-jurisdictional governance, and implementing strategies to cautiously prepare and plan for the future to safeguard our citizens."

"This paper highlights the important role that advanced communications networks play in enabling interoperability among multiple agencies and jurisdictions," says Hilary Mine, Alcatel's senior vice president of North American marketing. "Alcatel has a strong track record of delivering highly reliable mission-critical communications networks to federal, state and local governments that help public safety agencies and first responders communicate more effectively in real time."

For more information or to request a complimentary copy of the paper, contact Rhonda Wilson at rwilson@centerdigitalgov.com. To download a complimentary copy of the paper, visit Alcatel at www.usa.alcatel.com/publicsafety or the Center at www.centerdigitalgov.com.

About the Center for Digital Government

The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. A division of e.Republic, Inc., publisher of Government Technology magazine, the Center provides public- and private-sector leaders with decision support, knowledge and opportunities to help them succeed in 21st century government.

About Alcatel

Alcatel provides communications solutions to service providers and public sector and commercial enterprises for delivery of voice, data and video applications to their customers, employees or citizens. As a leader in the design and engineering of fixed and mobile broadband networks, applications and solutions, Alcatel provides the public sector with advanced services for citizens and interoperability solutions to support mission-critical communications among multiple government agencies and jurisdictions.

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