APCO International and the IJIS Institute Sponsored Task Force for Emergency Communications Announces Recommendations

Joint Task Force issues next steps for improving information sharing in emergency communications

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Anaheim, CA – At the 2013 Annual Conference of Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International in Anaheim, the Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute and APCO announced support for the recommendations of a high-powered joint task force convened by the two sponsoring organizations to determine the best next steps for improving information sharing in emergency communications. The two organizations have collaborated for several years on the improvement of automated information exchanges between communications centers and first responders in order to improve the protection and safety of both citizens and first responders.

The priorities for next steps were developed by a joint task force consisting of both practitioners from the public safety communications field and technologists from the companies that create software and services to support public safety emergency communications. After a series of studies and deliberations over a six month period, the Emergency Communications Task Force proposed the following recommendations for action by the joint efforts of the two sponsoring organizations:

1.       Create a national standard for exchanging information from computer aided dispatch systems with records management systems including between systems from different software providers.

2.       Building on this work, create information exchange standards covering other critical exchanges such as between computer aided dispatch systems from different software providers across jurisdictions.

3.       Create and implement a universal standard that provides for information exchanges of various data content across all of the external and internal systems with which computer aided dispatching systems need to share information.

4.       Create a new and innovative vision for mobility in public safety communications, embracing both the current and emerging technological revolutions and operational paradigm shifts in emergency response missions. The task force was adamant that this work should not duplicate or conflict with the many helpful emerging efforts such as FirstNet to make technological advances on behalf of public safety, nor address standards already being developed as a part of the national response to such changes.

The Task Force recommended that the process put in place by APCO International to develop ANSI standards be the basis for developing and maintaining the standards addressed by these recommendations, and that the methodology and Springboard, recently developed by the IJIS Institute form the basis for developing industry conformance with the standards. The program is an industry owned initiative sponsored in part by the Program Manager of the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

In announcing the support by APCO International, APCO President Terry Hall said that “this is exactly the kind of advance thinking that builds on top of the methods and processes that APCO has established to help improve the use of technology in communications centers. These standards will reduce costs and improve the effectiveness in communications centers over a wide range of information exchanges.” 

In a corresponding statement, IJIS Institute Executive Director Steve Ambrosini said that “the partnership formed between industry and government in the adoption of these new standards and a new model of mobility is the way forward in making progress in using information sharing to support the critical missions of public safety. This work will benefit both industry and government as it reduces risk and improves performance.”

Hall and Ambrosini acknowledged that the two organizations will be seeking funding to support these initiatives and hope to carry on the work of the Task Force without material delay. They agreed that the active participation emerging from this partnership will help ensure that this work is actually done to meet the needs of the public safety communications community.


APCO International™ (www.apcointl.org) —APCO International is the world’s largest organization of public safety communications professionals. It serves the needs of public safety communications practitioners worldwide – and the welfare of the general public as a whole – by providing complete expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach.

About the IJIS InstituteThe IJIS Institute unites the private and public sectors to improve mission-critical information sharing for those who protect and serve our communities. The IJIS Institute provides training, technical assistance, national scope issue management, and program management services to help government fully realize the power of information sharing. Founded in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with national headquarters on The George Washington University Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, the IJIS Institute has grown to over 280 member companies and individual associates from government, non-profit, and educational institutions from across the United States. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.ijis.org/; follow us on Twitter @ijisinstitute; read the IJIS Factor Blog; or, join us on LinkedIn at Justice and Public Safety Information Sharing.