President Obama has drawn attention again to public safety with a renewed call in his State of the Union address for a national public safety broadband network. Not as well known are other efforts to push public safety forward, such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Public Safety Network Systems Laboratory.
UCLA announced the creation of this center last year and held its first workshop for public safety leaders in December. The lab, which is part of the UCLA School of Engineering, offers renowned research facilities for unbiased, third-party testing and analysis of law enforcement technologies.
The laboratory, which created with Raytheon as 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 tackle some of the 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—a non-profit charter organization dedicated to public safety. It would provide a neutral space for public safety organizations, research centers, and industry to gather and collaboratively invest in real solutions—rather than just products. The trust would remain an independent, self-sustaining entity through industry membership dues, research grants, and fund-raising.
Projects involving the UCLA lab and the public safety research trust are already being embraced by public safety leaders, as shown by the diversity of participants at the lab's first workshop. Among the attendees were representatives from the FBI, LAPD, Los Angeles World Airports, Los Angeles' Emergency Management Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and the University of Southern California's (USC) CREATE Homeland Security Center.
This new initiative needs you too. If your agency or department is interested in joining the public safety research trust, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.