The ability to share data across jurisdictional lines is critical to public safety. In the past, agencies and neighboring jurisdictions operating on disparate systems could not perform at peak level when responding to major incidents. With today’s advanced inter-agency data sharing solutions, public safety agencies can effectively and securely share information in real time. The following companies offer flexible, integrated systems for maximum efficiency and interoperability.
Founded in 1979, CODY Systems is a leading provider of integrated single-source software solutions and interoperable data-sharing interfaces to public safety and federal agencies. Over a decade ago, the company created COBRA™, a real-time cross jurisdiction data sharing and analysis system that allows agencies functioning on divergent systems to quickly and securely share information. Since that time, COBRA has evolved into COBRA.net™, a disparate data source hub for multi-agency deployments, providing Web-based access to up-to-the-second real-time tactical information to officers at the desktop and in the field, as well as network-wide analysis to fusion centers.
COBRA.net is a suite of applications that links divergent databases (RMS, CAD, etc.) and, with active streaming, allows data synchronization within seconds after entry. Because each agency gets its own data silo, there is no commingling of data. Standards-compliant, the system works with NIEM, a federally supported government-wide initiative that allows the exchange of intergovernmental information, SOAP (Single Object Access Protocol), and other data sharing systems. COBRA.net’s primary mission is to protect law enforcement agents in the field and inform investigators and analysts, by delivering instant, real-time actionable information across jurisdictions and systems.
In early 2011, the Missouri Data Exchange Core Project (MoDEx) was initiated to create a flexible, state-wide information-sharing network for the state’s public safety, law enforcement, and homeland security agencies. Powered by COBRA.net, the MoDEx Core Project allows law enforcement agents to access real-time information on persons, vehicles, and incidents from a broad network of law enforcement RMS databases. COBRA.net provides a synchronized, centralized environment for shared information that is securely managed and maintained in its own segregated space.
Since the initiation of the MoDEx Core Project in the first quarter of 2011, over 100 partner agencies have been moved into live production. As of this writing, CODY and the State are continuing to bring more agencies online and are in the process of rolling out CODY’s C.tac 5™ (COBRA.net Tactical) search application for access by MoDEx Core agencies. David N. Heffner, Vice President of CODY Systems, said that Missouri’s growing MoDEx Core Project is a prime example of how a true partnership between a State agency and a technology provider can yield real, tangible results for disparate data source integration.
“The MoDEx Core Project is a great showcase for COBRA.net, especially the system’s ability to break down the ‘language barriers’ between disparate RMS, CAD and other databases and provide seamless, transparent access to state-wide law enforcement data from many different tools, including our C.tac 5 Web-based one-stop search app. Missouri is a great partner and the project continues to grow as does our relationship,” Heffner said.
The COBRA.net system provides instant one-stop searching of agency databases via a host of tools, including CODY’s C.tac (COBRA tactical) application. Cloud-ready and fully browser-based, C.tac allows law enforcement agents to access information from all connected agencies’ databases and other federal and state databases, such as NCIC. Deployed over a secure Internet cloud, C.tac is secure at the highest federal and state standards. With a .NET rich client platform, agencies of all sizes have access to critical information by simply connecting to the Internet.
COBRA.net’s open-data core architecture allows easy access to centralized data for third-party tools, such as reporting, visual analysis and GIS mapping. In the event of a total loss of the source database, the system supports full disaster recovery for all connected agencies and data sources.
Up-to-the-second cross-jurisdictional information ensures officer safety by providing a complete picture of the person and/or vehicle they are about to approach. With streamlined access and backup of information from across state-wide law enforcement databases, agencies can more efficiently coordinate information resources for preventing terrorist attacks and responding to natural disasters.
For over 20 years, Datamaxx Group has been a leading provider of communications and application software solutions to public safety, law enforcement and homeland security agencies. Supporting more than 500,000 end users globally, the company offers a comprehensive suite of products and services to facilitate information sharing among the agencies it serves. Datamaxx was the first company to become a strategic partner of the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Nlets) and is the only privately held company in the U.S. that has been audited by the FBI and Nlets.
Designed to meet stringent FBI CJIS Security Policy requirements, the Datamaxx Secure Cloud™ Solution provides direct access to law enforcement networks and homeland security information sources. At the center of Datamaxx’s Secure Cloud technology, the Omnixx Enterprise Platform delivers solutions for criminal justice computing, wireless law enforcement communications, and cross-jurisdictional information sharing.
In a cloud environment, a network can be accessed by computers and other devices anytime and anywhere an Internet connection exists. It is an affordable, secure solution that eliminates the costs associated with storage and staffing, allowing agencies to avoid the expensive up-front investments and typical costs associated with on-premise solutions.
Recently the Montana Department of Justice (MDOJ) reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Datamaxx Group that allows all Montana public safety agencies to utilize the Secure Cloud. This cost-effective, easily deployed and maintained solution allows agencies to seamlessly transition to the Datamaxx Secure Cloud without the usual administrative challenges. With cloud solutions, agencies only have to load one application, eliminating the need for a suite of software for each device, and required updates are automated and handled through the Secure Cloud.
At the forefront of Montana’s move to cloud technology is the Fort Benton Police Department, which began using the Datamaxx Omnixx Force Mobile solution in December of 2011. Part of the Omnixx Mobility Suite, Omnixx Force Mobile allows officers to wirelessly access mission-critical data from their police vehicles while performing their daily duties.
Fort Benton Police Chief John Turner said that the department chose the Datamaxx solution not only to improve officer safety and their investigative processes, but to save valuable time and resources. “The cloud environment offered by Datamaxx has resulted in an affordable solution with quick access, excellent reliability and fantastic technical support,” Chief Turner said.
Brad Long, Director of Business Development for Datamaxx, stated that using a cloud-based environment for data management enhances efficiency, but for agencies and organizations handling sensitive and critical data, it is imperative to choose a secure cloud center run by a provider that understands their unique needs. “The Datamaxx Secure Cloud is located within the only privately held facility that meets Nlets and FBI CJIS Security Policy requirements, and Datamaxx is a premier solution provider exclusively to the law enforcement, criminal justice, public safety, and homeland security markets,” Long said.
Spillman Technologies, Inc.
Since 1982 Spillman Technologies, Inc. has provided comprehensive, reliable software solutions for law enforcement agencies, fire departments, communications centers and correctional facilities. The company offers over 40 fully integrated modules that include RMS, CAD, Mobile Data and Field Reporting, Mapping and GIS, Crime Analysis, and Data Sharing. With a unique architecture designed specifically for live data sharing, Spillman’s technology solutions allow real-time exchange of information at both the intra-agency and multi-jurisdictional levels.
Spillman offers multi-jurisdictional data-sharing for both single database and multi-database use. With the single database, the Spillman server is stored at the agency’s location while the “shared” agencies use a designated segment of the server to store data. This provides all agencies with a collective pool of information using one Spillman database, while still allowing each agency to restrict access to certain data if so desired. The main benefit of the host-based option is that participating agencies can exchange critical data while sharing the costs of equipment, staffing and overhead.
Designed for multiple database use, Spillman’s InSight product enables agencies to build interoperability by linking with other agencies’ databases in real time. A Web-based, comprehensive software application, InSight requires no installation. The InSight broker is located on a secure network that allows participating Spillman agencies to query multiple databases for information, including those belonging to agencies that use non-Spillman systems. A query server is located at each participating agency to decrypt and run all incoming queries sent to the local database, and return any “hits” to the requesting user via the broker.
When Newton County, Ga. was looking for a reliable information-sharing system for increased multi-jurisdictional interoperability, they decided to go with a Spillman solution. The Covington Police Department and Covington-Newton County 911 Communications Center wanted to expand their existing Spillman system to allow enhanced data-sharing with other public safety agencies in the county. According to Communications Center Director Mike Smith, obtaining information was a time-consuming process in which police personnel would have to manually find the records or search through disparate systems.
In 2005, a special-purpose local-option sales tax was issued that would allow 10 agencies throughout Newton County to access data on a shared-host Spillman system. With this new information-sharing system, data is stored on a server that is hosted at the Covington-Newton County 911 Communications Center, where it can be easily accessed by each participating agency. Smith said each agency within the county has reaped the benefits of Spillman’s data-sharing system in its own unique way.
The Newton County DA’s Office uses the system to expedite case processing, while the Covington Fire Department and Newton County Fire Service use it to check for previous incidents at a particular location. The county’s Emergency Medical Service can pull up a victim’s medical history when responding to an emergency call, while the Newton County Sheriff uses Spillman to find information needed to complete warrants and citations.
Spillman President and CEO Lance Clark said, “For three decades now Spillman has been setting the standard in reliable public-safety software solutions. We focus completely on public safety software, which allows us to dedicate all of our resources to providing agencies with the innovative software and top-notch professional services they need to efficiently, safely serve their communities.”
Established in 1980, Tiburon Inc. is a leading provider of automated public safety and security solutions to meet the demanding needs of police, fire and rescue, and corrections agencies. For day-to-day operations and mission-critical situations, Tiburon offers fully integrated solutions for CAD, RMS, mobile data and communications, field reporting, and corrections management. The TiburonCONNECT Integration Platform allows public safety agencies to optimize response through real-time access to up-to-date information across departments, jurisdictions and technologies.
With TiburonCONNECT’s integration platform, agencies can leverage their existing capital investments and maximize third-party and legacy system investments. The system’s replicable adaptor model provides seamless integration, eliminating the costs connected with extensive customized integrations. System-related health issues are proactively communicated via in-house IT support access to an intuitive, Web-based maintenance administrative dashboard, reducing trouble ticket inquiries and expediting problem resolution.
TiburonCONNECT is a cost-effective solution that allows all systems to automatically capture and preserve critical system interactions in the event of official audits and other inquiries. Adhering to the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) and Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Justice Reference Architecture (JRA) standards, TiburonCONNECT helps public safety agencies to seamlessly share real-time information without having to rebuild existing technology systems.
In 2010, Tiburon and Arlington County, Va. partnered with neighboring counties and third-party providers to develop a CAD-to-CAD solution to reduce emergency response times. This CAD-to-CAD integration was built in conjunction with the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County and their respective CAD vendors to create a best-practice model for multi-agency multi-jurisdictional interoperability.
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments established the NCR Interoperability Program in 2005, with CAD-to-CAD as one of its key data exchanges. This required the development of a Data Exchange Hub to provide secure, streamlined data-sharing among NCR jurisdictions and other governing bodies and users.
The new CAD-to-CAD solution provides a Command and Control console that gives agencies operational status of each jurisdiction, a CAD-to-CAD portal that connects participants to incident reporting and standard operating procedures, and allows dispatchers to monitor real-time unit status updates. Replacing manual call handling with Tiburon’s CAD-to-CAD functionality, based on TiburonCONNECT, standardized the way the county connected to disparate CADs, resulting in a mutual-aid response time reduction of an average of two minutes and four seconds.
John Crawford, Commander of the county’s Emergency Communications Center, said “CAD-to-CAD gives the dispatcher instant awareness of what is available and the ability to request a mutual-aid resource from a neighboring jurisdiction. Dispatchers constantly know the statuses of local and mutual-aid units as those units are either dispatched, en route, or on scene at an incident.”
“Arlington County is to be congratulated for their part in this forward-looking and now award- winning project,” commented Michael Bealmear, Tiburon’s CEO. “Tiburon has been a long-time supporter of data sharing and CAD interoperability since our earliest involvement in the IJIS Institute and our subsequent support of the related NIEM standard. A project like this depends on the collaboration and cooperation of many public and private entities and we’re glad to have played our part.”
Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.