Check Out NIIX!

TNIIX_logo_200x46he National Interoperability Information Exchange (NIIX), a FREE and SECURE website for public safety to store, share, and work and collaborate on their documents. This secure central warehouse is efficient and easy to use with online and telephone support readily available to answer any questions you may have. NIIX has been used to share state interoperability plans, agreements, policy, SOPs and other valuable documents. NIIX can securely connect you with other state interoperability planners to facilitate information sharing and cooperation. NIIX can be used to create private communities to assist public safety communications entities and users in sharing relevant documents, calendars, and information. See how NIIX can help you organize, share, and store your documents at


Congratulations to Douglas Aiken Re-Elected as NPSTC Vice Chair

Chief Aiken Has Served NPSTC in a Leadership Role since 1998. Douglas M. Aiken brings 38 years of experience as both an advocate for public safety telecommunications issues and as an administrator in public safety telecommunications. He began his fire service career as a member of the Manchester (New Hampshire) Fire Department.  He then became Chief of Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid (LRMFA) a 36-community Fire, EMS, and HazMat agency in central New Hampshire where he continues to serve as a deputy chief on a part time basis.  In addition, Chief Aiken serves as the chairman of the New Hampshire Enhanced 9-1-1 Commission.  He retired from the New Hampshire Air National Guard in 2007 at the rank of colonel after a 40-year military career.

IACP, Sponsor of PS BB Forum, Has Long History of Serving Law Enforcement

IACP logo 2015 05 crSince 1893, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, sponsor of the Public Safety Broadband Forum, has been serving the needs of the law enforcement community. Throughout those past 100- plus years, the IACP has been launching historically acclaimed programs, conducting ground-breaking research and providing exemplary programs and services to its membership across the globe.

The IACP’s goals are to disseminate improved administrative, technical and operational practices and promote their use in police work; to foster police cooperation and the exchange of information and experience among police administrators throughout the world; to bring about recruitment and training in the police profession of qualified persons; and to encourage adherence of all police officers to high professional standards of performance and conduct.

Professionally recognized programs such as the FBI Identification Division and the Uniform Crime Records system can trace their origins back to the IACP. From spearheading national use of fingerprint identification to partnering in a consortium on community policing to gathering top experts in criminal justice, the government and education for summits on violence, homicide, and youth violence, IACP has realized its responsibility to positively affect the goals of law enforcement. Read more at

We Hope You Join NPSTC at the IACP PS BB Forum June 24-25 in D.C.

DeMello_Award_160hWho will this year’s DeMello Award winner be? The DeMello Award, presented to one individual in public safety communications who has demonstrated the highest levels of personal and professional conduct and performance in the local, state, and national public safety communications arena, was created in 2006 to honor the achievement of Richard DeMello, one of the founding fathers of NPSTC. Please join us to thank and recognize the winners of the DeMello, Chairman’s, Hertz, Atkinson, Leadership, and Participant Awards. You will also hear an overview of the work of the Broadband Working Group in the last 6 months in addition to learning more about the new Radio Interoperability Best Practices Working Group, the excellent response to the recently released Public Safety Grade report, border updates, and presentations from our federal partners, The IACP Public Safety Broadband Forum will be held at the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) in Washington, D.C. Agenda and more details are on NPSTC’s Meeting Page. 

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, May 22, 2014

Lots of Net Neutrality news this week as the FCC moves to try and make some changes to the Internet. This is going to be an interesting issue to watch and reactions are mixed, some really like what the FCC is proposing and some oppose it. Meanwhile Congress is weighing in but only because donor dollars are being received by those with one view or another. FirstNet appears to be making progress after many months of stagnation. It is good to see them moving forward, hiring good people, and working closer with the States, Territories, and Tribal Nations. I hope the momentum continues. As Bill Schrier points out in his articles listed in the news, this is a daunting task but it can be done. I was very encouraged by the comments of the acting General Manager of FirstNet at the IACP event recently in which he reiterated the need to continue to make use of, and invest in, existing Land Mobile Radio systems. With all of the hype surrounding voice over IP or VoLTE, and the OMA now saying they are working with 3GPP on a Push-to-Talk Standard for LTE, I am still concerned that elected officials will stop funding needed upgrades to LMR Public Safety Systems. This would be unwise and could create some real problems for the Public Safety Community. Have a great holiday week-end and the news summary will continue the week after next. Andy Continue reading

Real World Intelligence, Andy Seybold May 13, 2014

The Politics of Mission-Critical Voice

When I left FirstNet in December of 2013, the general manager and others had agreed with me that voice on the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) would have to wait until it was a proven technology and until data/video broadband capabilities had been implemented. I was happy with this approach. It meant that investment in LMR voice systems would continue and FirstNet would have an opportunity to determine system loading for data and video, and how much capacity might be available on the spectrum to share with partners and to add Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

The Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) folks in Boulder, Colo. are working with the LTE standards body (3GPP), which has been working on the addition of a specification to the 3GPP LTE standard to support Mission-Critical Voice (MCV) over LTE, and to come up with a standard for off-network voice and data communications (simplex, tactical, peer-to-peer communications). But the Public Safety community agreed that the most important function of the new LTE network would be to provide access to data and video and VoLTE would be added at some point. They also agreed that LMR voice systems, which are the lifeline of the first responder community, would be around for a long time to come. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, June 5, 2014

There was a lot of news covering many different subjects this past two weeks. Most important for Public Safety is all of the activity surrounding the FirstNet Board of Directors meeting and the information that was released during the public committee and then Public Board Meeting. Since I was not able to attend either, and was not able to watch the proceedings in real time on the web, I will comment on only what I saw during the video replay and from what I have heard since the events this week.

First was the appointment of Sue Swenson as the new Chairman of the FirstNet Board. Sue is an industry veteran who has served on the board since the beginning. She was deeply involved in the FirstNet/BTOP grant discussions that led up to allowing some but not all of the BTOP grant recipients to move forward. While she comes from the commercial side of the industry she has earned the respect of many within the Public Safety community and is looked upon as someone who cares about getting FirstNet up and running and getting it done the right way the first time around. I, for one, am very pleased with this appointment.

The news is mostly positive for FirstNet this time around. Public Safety really wants this to happen and even though there have been too many delays based on Federal bureaucratic imposed limitations as to the true power of the BOD when it comes to hiring, firing, and running the business, the Public Safety community, for the most part, still wants to see it succeed. If FirstNet had been a private corporation or if those at the Department of Commerce/NTIA had interpreted its Congressional mandate differently we would no doubt be much further down the road. In the business world, hiring full-time employees, vetting them, and bringing them onboard is a 2-4 week process in most cases. Bringing a consultant onboard takes even less time, and having preliminary discussions with potential vendors is the norm, not having to go through an extended Request for Information (RFI) process.

The problem with the RFI process is that since it is a public filing those responding won’t truly provide real, concrete information because their competitors will be privy to the contents. So for better or worse, we are saddled with a system where the “company” running the project, designing it, building it or having it built, and then managing it is not the organization that has the final say in what actually happens. I have to remain confident that these issues will be resolved, but I can tell you that if FirstNet was truly an independent company there would be “sticks in the ground,” partnerships signed and onboard, and equipment in the field ready for deployment. No private investors or stockholders who paid for stock would sit still for this long without seeing any tangible results or income stream.

In other news, the NPSTC Public Safety Grade Document (, which is now public, is an important document. When I was a vice-chair of the APCO Broadband Committee we provided the communications site portion of the document to NPSTC and worked many long, hard hours. Joe Ross of Televate and I co-Chaired this task but many others including the Broadband Committee Chairman, Bill Schrier, and the entire committee invested hundreds of hours of time on this one segment of the report. We knew from the start that many existing Public Safety sites did not meet the “mission-critical” requirements set forth in the document but we hoped, and continue to hope, that it will be reviewed not only by the FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Council and FirstNet but that many local organizations would read it and at least perform an initial assessment of their own Public Safety sites, perhaps over time making some changes to bring them closer into compliance.

We are using this document in my County to evaluate our existing sites and as we add new sites to the Public Safety systems. Not in the news but important for First Responders, and MORE important for those building communications systems for First Responders, it should be noted that sometimes the incidents are so quick and so fast that what you have available to you is what you have period. Here in Santa Barbara during the Isla Vista incident the entire rampage (after the murders inside the apartment) took only 8 minutes. During that time, 12 crime scenes developed, 50 rounds of ammunition were fired, and two people were run down by the shooter’s car. There was no time to establish an Incident Command system, no time for planning, no time for a master communications plan, no attempt to bring in cells on wheels, portable repeaters, or a command vehicle. Everything was over in a short 8 minutes! Have a great weekend, Andy Continue reading