Public safety has made news headlines again as President Obama urged Congress to approve a national public safety broadband network during his State of the Union address. Those of us in public safety are well aware of this need. At the same time, it’s imperative we know about other efforts that are underway to push public safety forward.

At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Public Safety Network Systems Laboratory held its first workshop in December. As I mentioned in a blog post last year, this lab offers third-party, unbiased testing and analysis of current and future public safety technologies.

The laboratory, of which Raytheon was its first partner, is dedicated to advancing public safety through six goals that focus on the development of networks and operations technologies, analysis of LTE technologies, adoption of devices such as smartphones, and establishment of standards for interoperable network systems.

The research team’s initial projects will focus on some of the most pressing issues first responders face as departments switch to commercial wireless technologies. They’ll analyze and design adaptive power and adaptive rate scheduling for wireless and cellular networks; look at wireless systems under severe fading scenarios in urban and indoor areas; and develop apps for smartphones.

Over the long term, public safety will also benefit from the creation of a Public Safety Research Trust. This trust is envisioned as a 501(c)(3) charter organization dedicated solely to public safety. It would provide a neutral middle-ground for public safety organizations, research centers and industry to invest in real solutions – not just products. Industry membership dues, research grants and fundraising would ensure the trust remains independent and self-sustaining for years to come.

This is a bold vision and one that’s already being embraced by those who attended the lab’s first counterterrorism workshop. Among the attendees were representatives from the FBI, LAPD, Los Angeles World Airports, City of Los Angeles Emergency Management, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the University of Southern California’s (USC) CREATE Homeland Security Center.

But it needs you too. First responders are well aware of the challenges they encounter in the field. Now there’s a world-class research institution working to bring you solutions.

If your agency, department or company is interested in joining the Public Safety Research Trust, contact me on Twitter @mikebostic.

PART 2: An active shooter terrorizes a military facility. An armed suspect with a bomb-like device strapped to his body enters LAX Terminal 4. A suspect with a deadly gas device is about to walk into a state building. What equipment and information would you want in a crisis? Find out what public safety leaders attending the UCLA Public Safety Network Systems Laboratory workshop envisioned as the technologies of the future.

Related post:
Bostic, Mike. March 17, 2011. From Internet to Interoperability: New UCLA Research to Benefit Public Safety Agencies