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Public Safety Broadband Wireless Networks go Broader

NCJ Number
Stephen Rayment
Date Published
March 2009
5 pages
Using the example of the Minneapolis bridge disaster in 2007, this article examines the successful deployment of wireless network technology for public safety agencies’ operations.
Broadband wireless networking and video security cameras played an important and supporting role in recovery efforts following the Minneapolis bridge disaster in August 2007. A couple of cameras were quickly set up, leveraging the city’s new Wi-Fi network to provide real-time visibility of the site back to the emergency operations center. That same Wi-Fi network was used by emergency response personnel from a number of agencies working along the riverfront to access and transfer the huge geographic information system (GIS) mapping files that were constantly being updated and critical to the recovery operation. Since that time, all of the technology used in the Minneapolis bridge disaster has been dramatically updated. The combined benefits of these technologies reinforce their continued growth. The visibility provided by network video security cameras combined with the reach, flexibility, and mobility of wireless networks enables public safety agencies to better protect their communities and personnel. Traditionally labor intensive tasks, such as monitoring high crime, high traffic or remote areas, as well as special events and disasters, are leveraging wireless video security networks to increase effectiveness of public safety personnel as they work to reduce crime, keep neighborhoods safe, and save lives. Other anecdotal results are also discussed in detail.