Wireless Public Safety Network Protects National Mall
Public safety organizations from the District and Virginia joined the U.S. Park Police on June 30 to demonstrate the capabilities of the broadband, wireless public safety network that was in place to protect people gathered on the National Mall this Fourth of July weekend.
The demonstration occurred on the Mall side of the Freer Gallery of Art (On Jefferson Drive between 12th and 7th Streets, NW) Thursday, June 30, 2005 and included first responders from the U.S. Park Police, Alexandria Police Department and District Fire Department. IJ Hudson of WRC-4 (NBC) covered the event.
The District has the first citywide, broadband, wireless, interoperable public safety network in the country. The pilot network called WARN, for Wireless Accelerated Responder Network, allows Federal, state and local jurisdictions to communicate via broadband throughout the District and allows for the sharing of voice and video among first responders in real time, examples demonstrated include: –Real time wireless Helicopter and patrol car video distribution–Integration of traffic cameras for incident management–Weather radar.
The demonstration began with a WARN distribution of helicopter video (both regular and IR) to multiple police vehicles from multiple jurisdictions (DC, Federal and regional, in this case Alexandria, VA). The event also featured the WARN distribution of traffic camera pictures demonstrating the capabilities of wireless connection to the Internet.
The WARN distribution of weather radar from Channel 4 showed the wireless connection to Internet and the ability of full motion video from a moving Alexandria police car was demonstrated by driving away from IJ Hudson, around the Mall and back to command vehicle using WARN.
The applications that were demonstrated were later used to help ensure that the Park Police and the District were able to make the Mall safer for visitors during the 4th of July celebrations and were used by other agencies such as the Districts EMA.
This system has the potential to be deployed across the country. Currently, legislation sponsored by Senators McCain and Lieberman, the SAVES LIVES Act, and endorsed by the Spectrum Coalition for Public Safety, would allow for the allocation of spectrum to allow for network such as WARN to be operated nationwide on a permanent basis.
The Spectrum Coalition for Public Safety ( http://www.spectrumcoalition.org ) is a national coalition of cities, states, and public safety associations organized to secure additional spectrum in the 700 MHz range to support critical public safety national broadband wireless network deployments. Robert LeGrande, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) indicated we were pleased to support our Federal and local public safety personnel with this important tool and look forward to working with Congress and the first responders in the NCR to keep the Nations Capitol safe.