First responder report due in spring

National Institute of Justice

By early spring, the federal government hopes to release a sweeping document that catalogs the priorities of first responders based on various national reports and surveys that have been published previously.

"We solicited information from them to identify reports that we had not found and insight into what is most useful in a final report," said Richard Jacques, a senior program manager with the National Institute of Justice, adding that facilitating communications interoperability was "at the forefront of the minds" of most survey participants.

The final report, he said, is anticipated to provide a complete inventory of first responder needs based on analysis of after-action reports and existing surveys and reports, a basis for the development of new technology, and a document to help state and local agencies procure technology and equipment for first responders.

About 17 representatives from the federal government and various national associations met last fall in Arlington, Va. for a 1½-hour informational session for the initiative called the National First Responders Technology Need Assessment. A draft report has been sent out to the participants, said Jacques, with the final publication intended for late March or early April.

Joel Leson, special assistant to the executive director of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), said the gist of the assessment is to ensure that first responders identify requirements for industry and that they meet federal safety and other types of standards.

"The last thing we want to see is money poorly spent," said Leson, who represents the IACP in the initiative. "As a fellow taxpayer, we want to make sure what

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