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Law Enforcement Tech Guide for Communications Interoperability
On November 21, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPS Office) published Law Enforcement Tech Guide for Communications Interoperability: A Guide for Interagency Communications Projects. Prepared by SEARCH, this practical and user-friendly Guide is available on the SEARCH web site at: http://www.search.org/programs/safety/techguides/. Hard copies can be ordered through the COPS Office at 1.800.421.6770 or via email at askCOPSRC@usdoj.gov.

The Guide is organized into three parts:
  • What interoperability is and what it means for public safety agencies.
  • How to achieve and measure interoperability within a jurisdiction or region.
  • What the different technological approaches to interoperability are, specific types of communications equipment, and the role of security in voice and data systems.

The 420-page Guide concludes with key sample documents to use to implement successful projects, and the SAFECOM Program’s Interoperability Continuum, which provides a standard set of elements for interoperability.

“Information sharing across voice and data communications systems—both between agencies and throughout field operations—is critically important to public safety today. This Guide is designed to give an agency executive or project manager background on the subject of communications interoperability and tools to carry out technology initiatives that make interoperability possible,” said Ms. Kelly Harris, SEARCH Executive Director of Programs.

“SEARCH’s work on behalf of the COPS Office and other federal grant programs has provided us an opportunity to see what has worked and what hasn’t. This Guide is a practical tool for interoperability projects across all public safety disciplines, not just law enforcement. We’re pleased that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security SAFECOM program has also endorsed it,” said Mr. Dan Hawkins, SEARCH Director of Public Safety Programs, who authored the Guide.

The Guide is third in a series of five Tech Guides prepared by SEARCH in cooperation with COPS. The original Law Enforcement Tech Guide: How to plan, purchase, and manage technology (successfully!), was published in 2002 to provide law enforcement agencies with a step-by-step guide to implement new technologies. In 2005, the COPS Office published Law Enforcement Tech Guide for Small and Rural Police Agencies: A Guide for Executives, Managers, and Technologists. This Guide provides strategies, best practices, recommendations, and ideas for successful IT planning and implementation for agencies with minimal personnel and financing.

Soon to be published are the final two guides: Law Enforcement Tech Guide for Creating Performance Measures that Work, and Law Enforcement Tech Guide for Information Technology Security: How to Assess Risk and Establish Effective Policies.

"When used together, these Tech Guides are an impressive toolset for technology implementation," said Ms. Harris. View or download all available Tech Guides at SEARCH’s web site at http://www.search.org/programs/safety/techguides/.