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COPS Office Releases 2nd Edition of Communications Interop Tech Guide

tech-guideBuilding a voice or data communications system that enables public safety to communicate with each other and share information within and across jurisdictions and disciplines—whether during mission-critical events or in daily operations—is a complex and costly effort. 

To help organizations better tackle interoperable communications projects, SEARCH first developed the Law Enforcement Tech Guide for Communications Interoperability: A Guide for Interagency Communications Projects in 2006. We are pleased to announce the August 2013 publication of a revised and updated second edition, which is available from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). 

This comprehensive, user-friendly guide provides strategies, best practices, and recommendations for public safety agencies seeking to develop or expand interagency communications projects. It explores technologies in voice and data communications, and provides planning tools to help achieve interoperable communication and information sharing initiatives. 

The revised 2nd edition addresses some significant technological and policy changes that have occurred in the past 7 years. These include the growth of the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), the introduction of statewide communications interoperability plans (SCIPs), the emergence of the National Broadband Plan and the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), developments in Communications Unit Leaders (COML) training, SAFECOM Standard Operating Procedures, and the P25 Compliance Assessment Program. These changes can help agencies plan and implement effective interagency communications technologies and were therefore included in the Guide’s update. 

The 2006 edition of this Tech Guide was written by former SEARCH staff Dan Hawkins, with the 2013 revisions prepared by Bonnie B. Maney, SEARCH Public Safety Training Manager/Information Sharing Specialist, and Mallorie Teubner, former SEARCH staff. Both editions of this Tech Guide are endorsed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security SAFECOM program. 

The Communications Interoperability Tech Guide serves as a companion to the COPS-funded Law Enforcement Tech Guide: How to plan, purchase and manage technology (successfully!), A Guide for Executives, Managers and Technologists. A series of five Tech Guides prepared by SEARCH under COPS Office funding are available for download.

Where to get the Communications Interoperability Tech Guide, 2nd edition:

The guide is available from the COPS Office Resource Center. It is available in PDF only. Download size: 18MB. Page length: 504

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Karen Lissy

Ms. Karen Lissy is a Justice Information Services Specialist for the Law and Policy Program of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. In this position, she provides assistance to state and local justice and public safety agencies to collect, curate, and use National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data and computerized criminal history record (CCH/CHRI) information for policy analysis and development.

She also guides justice and related organizations in how to craft and implement laws, policies, practices, and technology applications to effectively collect and use CCH and related justice/public safety data; address legal, policy, and regulatory issues associated with CCH data; better manage and operate criminal justice information and identification systems; and develop security and privacy policies that protect justice information sharing systems.

Ms. Lissy has nearly two decades of research and data analysis experience, having led projects and tasks in support of two agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Institute of Justice), as well as the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and multiple foundations, including Ford, Annie E. Casey, and Hewlett. Prior to joining SEARCH in October 2020, Ms. Lissy served as a Social Science Researcher at RTI International, as a regional Crime Analyst for the Redmond (WA) Police Department, and as Director of a research program with the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. Beginning in 2012, Ms. Lissy’s work has focused on improving data in law enforcement to answer policy questions and improve community/police relations.

Ms. Lissy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michael Mackay

Mr. Michael Mackay is an Information Sharing Developer for SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. As part of the Software and Data Engineering Program (SDEP) team, he plans, develops, implements, and deploys information sharing systems on behalf of SEARCH clients in local, state, tribal, and Federal government settings. He also provides programming, configuration, and testing assistance, and consults on implementation architecture and design with clients. 

Mr. Mackay supports justice, public safety, and homeland security information sharing nationwide through SDEP services that include software architecture and systems design, application development, deployment and support, data management services, and direct technical assistance and training. These services offer capabilities that include federated query, authentication access/control, subscription/notification, process/workflow automation, data analysis, and more. 

Prior to joining SEARCH in 2021, Mr. Mackay worked as a Software Engineering Intern for TDM Business Toole Suite, where he provided software development support using Java frameworks, implemented relational database models using MySQL, and designed GUI components using NetBeans. 

Mr. Mackay will work in an Agile development environment, a methodology that SEARCH embraces that focuses on incremental development and delivery, collaboration in a team approach, and rapid and flexible response to change throughout the development cycle. 

Mr. Mackay earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Stony Brook University, New York.