Public Safety Issue Briefs

The Issue Briefs series addresses best practices and key topical issues related to public safety communications interoperability. They are designed for practitioners with limited time and a need to know about the latest industry-based knowledge. The series is prepared by SEARCH under funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

ib1 Issue Brief #1
Disaster Planning and Recovery: 9-1-1 Center Survivability

This Issue Brief takes a look at what has been learned about 9-1-1 communications center survivability since Hurricane Katrina, and offers insight into what we might expect and what we need to be thinking about to assist 9-1-1 centers to respond to and recover from major and catastrophic events that affect 9-1-1 operations.
ib2 Issue Brief #2
Communications in the Incident Command System

This Issue Brief presents background on communications within the National Incident Management System and its Incident Command System. It examines the role of communications within these constructs, as well as in the context of multi-agency response to disasters and emergencies. It concludes with operational best practices for effective use of incident communications units.
ib3 Issue Brief #3
Building a Regional Communications Plan

A key step in integrating technology and operational requirements is building a regional communications plan. This Issue Brief presents the basic steps in building such a plan to improve interoperability and, ultimately, joint response to emergencies.
ib4 Issue Brief #4
Interoperable Communications Training and Exercises: Creating Processes, Tools, and Techniques

Communications is not an independent element of emergency response that can be adequately exercised and evaluated in isolation. It is through integrated exercises that communications can be trained in context, tested, evaluated, and set for continuous improvements. These will assist your agency or region in becoming better prepared to prevent, respond to, and recover from a real-world incident.
ib5 Issue Brief #5
Performance Measurement and Interoperability

This Issue Brief defines interoperable communications, performance measures, the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum, and provides predictive modeling/statistical measurement solutions. It presents an overview of how these concepts could be combined to develop a solution for performance measurement and interoperability.
ib6 Issue Brief #6
Project 25: The Quest for Interoperable Radios

Project 25. Few terms have been more closely associated with the quest for communications interoperability among public safety agencies. But what exactly is Project 25? Where did it come from and where is it headed? What is its value to public safety agencies and technology managers? This Issue Brief attempts to answer those questions, providing background and current information for decision makers who may be considering use of radios and radio systems built around standards that have arisen from the project.
issuebrief7 Issue Brief #7–Developing Interoperability: Standard Operating Procedures
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are one of the five “critical success factors” essential for Interoperable communications. ThisIssue Brief educates the public safety community on the need for these SOPS, and the best way to effectively implement them within agencies. It is aimed at public safety first responders (police, fire, EMS) and emergency communications personnel.
issuebrief8 Issue Brief #8
The “Accidental” Project Manager

Public safety operations, communications, or first responder personnel may find themselves in the position of managing an IT project for their organization—sometimes with little or no preparation, or while balancing their primary job assignments. A new term has been coined to describe this trial-by-fire nature of project management: The “accidental” project manager. This Issue Brief defines what an accidental project manager is, explains why project management matters, and outlines how to effectively manage this reality.
issuebrief9 Issue Brief #9
An Introduction to Long Term Evolution (LTE)

Long Term Evolution (LTE), commonly referred to as 4G—or next generation wireless communications—is the new standard for public safety broadband. This Issue Brief discusses the advantages and limitations of LTE technologies for public safety.
issuebrief10 Issue Brief #10
Improving Life Cycle Management Through IT Service Management

This Issue Brief looks at both the traditional and Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) approaches to life cycle management, and highlights why it is important to engage in a continual improvement process. It reveals how managing public safety services using elements of ITSM can increase service quality, reliability, and operational efficiency, resulting in cost savings.
issuebrief11 Issue Brief #11
Free Project Management Tools

As budgets diminish, public safety project managers must find new ways to manage projects with fewer resources. Free project management tools can support capital and noncapital public safety projects. This Issue Brief provides an overview of free project management tools, summarizing how they can be used to support public safety projects.
issuebrief12 Issue Brief # 12
Using Social Media to Market and Promote Public Safety Projects

This Issue Brief provides a brief overview of several free social media tools and summarizes how they can be used to market and promote public safety projects. Social media can support public safety project communication with a wide range of stakeholders, including public safety first responders, governmental representatives at all levels, and the public at large.
issuebrief13 Issue Brief #13
Prepping for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

This Issue Brief gives an update on work that is underway to establish a national public safety broadband network in the U.S. It describes the history of the network and explains the players involved in the effort. The Brief also offers steps that local agencies can take now to prepare for the network implementation.
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.