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October 08, 2009
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Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief 10-43: Be Advised...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief

IACP Products: 'Mesh' technology connecting public safety departments


An example of how Firetide is being used to connect departments. Click the image for a larger photo. (Firetide Photo)

Communications interoperability was a major focus of this year’s IACP conference, and I spent some time with Firetide discussing how their wireless infrastructure was being used by public safety departments across the country to help officers, firefighters and EMTs work together during critical incidents.

I spoke with Marketing Communications Manager Ksenia Coffman about the advantage of mesh networks, and how police officers can utilize broadband wireless to their advantage.

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“The advantage of Firetide’s mesh network is that it forms instantaneously and fixes itself when a link is interrupted or broken,” Coffman said. “For a special event, this system can also be used to connect different jurisdictions that are keeping surveillance.”

For example, the Denver, Colorado Police Department used Firetide technology during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. They set up 75 cameras on Firetide’s wireless infrastructure and used video surveillance to monitor crowds around the city.

Firetide is also being used by law enforcement officers to identify perpetrators, lock down secure convictions with video evidence, keep surveillance in parks and recreation, and can work in conjunction with the traffic department on roads and highways.

For example, the police department of Sandy, Utah is using this device to keep officers safer in harsh weather conditions as well. Before using Firetide, the department had to send out police cruisers to check snow conditions on highways in the winter, but now they have the technology to use video surveillance so officers don't need to be deployed in unsafe conditions.

“The network itself is multi-service,” Coffman explained. “Police departments around the country are using it for both fixed and portable surveillance as well as for covert operations.”

Broadband wireless mesh networks are changing the shape of public safety communications interoperability. The sophisticated technology can be used for every day operations as well as critical incident response, and provides an affordable solution for communication across jurisdictions.

Read about how other departments are using Firetide.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 800 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.

Contact Doug Wyllie




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