FEATURED IN LEADERSHIP
An armed gunman with an AK-47 and several ammo clips enters a military facility, takes out the gate guards and opens fire on anyone he approaches.
A terrorist enters Terminal 4 at LAX with a device strapped to his body, walks up to the ticket counter and displays a gun.
According to intelligence reports, a suspect with a deadly gas device is expected to enter a state building in downtown Los Angeles in 30 minutes.
Three different crises with one commonality – current and future technologies could help officers deal with these situations more effectively. But what would those technologies be? At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Public Safety Network Systems Laboratory’s first counterterrorism workshop in December, public safety leaders had the opportunity to implement a mock crisis response that officers can still only dream of. The attendees represented a variety of departments and agencies, including the FBI, LAPD, Los Angeles World Airports and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
For these officers and agents, their wish list included the following:
Next Generation 9-1-1 that can receive incident-related pictures from mobile phones with geo-location data attached. Also, social media posts and tweets sent from the public that contain longitude and latitude coordinates.
- Communications systems that are interoperable, resilient, redundant and secure. By implication this means first responders should be able to communicate with each other through an open architecture system that integrates and communications device.
- Facial recognition technologies and Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) that can help identify people who may be dangerous
- Automated license plate readers at key facilities or a city’s entry and exit points for alerting and investigative purposes.
- Blue Force Tracking that shows where team members are in three dimensions. This could be used within buildings and include building schematics.
Raytheon’s new Public Safety Regional Technology Center in Downey, Calif., near Los Angeles offers one way to build out these technologies for use in the field. The 27,000-square-foot center opened in February and is a hub of activity for designing, testing and certifying public safety technologies.
Several cutting-edge Raytheon technologies that were designed for the battlefield and have been adapted for law enforcement are available on-site for officers to try out. There’s the Boomerang shooter detection system that helps immediately locate the source of firearms being discharged; the Controlled Impact Rescue Tool, which is capable of cutting through a reinforced concrete wall up to four times faster than traditional methods of drilling or sawing; and TransTalk, a mobile phone app that directly translates languages, including a soon-to-be-released English-to-Spanish version.
Any police department is welcome to use the facility for testing purposes, as well as to propose an idea or issue that will be worked on collaboratively by academic researchers, industry and the public safety community. This is a center that’s been built to support first responders – and it’s a place I wish we had when I was with the LAPD.
To learn more about the Public Safety Regional Technology Center and view photos, visit http://www.raytheon.com/newsroom/feature/rtn12_downey/index.html. For information on the UCLA Public Safety Network Systems Laboratory, email UCLAWorkshop@finnpartners.com or contact me on Twitter @mikebostic.