By Sheriff Richard Stanek, FirstNet Board member
On March 4, 2015, President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing – led by co-chairs Charles Ramsey, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department and Laurie Robinson, Professor at George Mason University – released its interim report on 21st Century Policing (Report).
The Report features six “pillars”, or categories, on how policing practices can build public trust and promote effective crime reduction, and it includes input from community members, law enforcement officers, associations, stakeholders, academic experts, and civic leaders.
In the third pillar, regarding technology & social media, there is an interesting discussion about how new technology, including social media, can improve policing practices when the purposes and goals of the technology are transparent. The third pillar also discusses the changing technology environment and the need for law enforcement officers to take advantage of technology to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and evolution.
In addressing the use of social media, the Report points to a comment from the Washington State single point of contact (SPOC) Bill Schrier to “post content rapidly during incidents to dispel rumors.”
Further, the Report acknowledges that with the influx of new technology to improve law enforcement operations, a reliable network like the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) can help support these technologies. Specifically, recommendation 3.7 of the Report states that:
“The Federal Government should make the development and building of segregated radio spectrum and increased bandwidth by FirstNet for exclusive use by local, state, tribal, and federal public safety agencies a top priority.”
“A national public safety broadband network which creates bandwidth for the exclusive use of law enforcement, the First Responder Network (FirstNet) is considered a game-changing public safety project, which would allow instantaneous communication in even the most remote areas whenever a disaster or incident occurs.”
While the Report was about law enforcement, with the implementation of a NPSBN, first responders – to include firefighters and emergency medical services – will be equipped with the 21st century communication tools to help save lives, solve crimes and keep our communities and emergency responders safe.
You can read the entire Report on the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services website. At FirstNet, we are pleased the Report recognizes the importance of our mission to our nations’ law enforcement officers.