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10 a common radio system, CAD integration with traveler infor- agencies, can be reluctant to allow other organizations access mation system, and CCTV images. to their communications or information-processing systems. However, as these systems have evolved over recent years, they have incorporated sufficient security safeguards to safely 3.2 METHODS USED IN PRACTICE permit access and use by personnel who are not sworn law enforcement officers. Modern systems are therefore usually 3.2.1 Face-to-Face not a significant security problem, although older systems can pose difficulties. In either case, transportation personnel At six of nine locations surveyed, communications and who are granted access privileges to law enforcement sys- information systems are made accessible to both public safety tems containing sensitive information are usually required to and transportation at a common location. These joint opera- pass a background investigation. Where permitted and prac- tions centers are often the cornerstone for information shar- ticable, such joint system use has been shown to improve the ing between agencies in a region. As would be expected in efficiency of all users. It has also been shown to improve jointly operated facilities, the primary method of information responder safety. A simple wanted-vehicle check can warn a sharing is face-to-face voice communications. Face-to-face service patrol operator to avoid contact with a wanted vehi- communication is an effective way of sharing incident noti- cle, where assistance might have been previously offered. fication and status information and for coordinating response This check could avoid jeopardizing a service patrol crew or and management of the traffic incident or other emergencies. inadvertently aiding a perpetrator. For example, the control room in the San Diego center is specifically designed to foster interaction by arranging con- Public safety radio systems were shared with some parts soles in a manner that facilitates operator-to-operator con- of transportation agencies at most locations. This was done tact. This arrangement has proven especially beneficial as it with full transmit and receive units or with monitoring scan- provides the opportunity to communicate openly between ners. Service patrol vehicles often were equipped with pub- transportation and highway patrol staff as incidents evolve lic safety radios and had access to certain channels. Service without depending on communications or data systems. patrols are usually sponsored by state or local transportation Other face-to-face information-sharing methods include agencies and offer motorist assistance to vehicles traveling on-scene coordination and planning task forces. These are not on limited-access public roadways. Service patrol access to considered in more detail here. In the case of on-scene coor- public safety radios provides dual benefits. The service patrol dination, this is transitory in nature and common to incident operators can be directed to minor incidents by public safety scenes across the United States. Various traffic-planning task dispatchers, allowing public safety responders to handle more forces at some of the surveyed locations provide the basis for pressing emergencies. Service patrol operators frequently coordinated incident management, but are not directly involved arrive first at serious incidents and can best be the eyes and ears in the real time sharing of incident detection, response, or scene of public safety via direct radio contact (while the public safety management information. responders are en route). At their operations centers, the agen- cies also monitor each other's relevant radio communications. Service patrol operators in Seattle, Washington, are 3.2.2 Remote Voice equipped with hand-held state patrol radios that enable the operators to communicate with officers responding to an inci- The standard wireline telephone is still the primary means dent. Use of the WSP radio also enables WSDOT to commu- of interagency communication, incorporating facsimile. The public switched telephone network is essential and elemental nicate with local fire departments via a common frequency. for public safety and transportation information sharing; tele- The fire channel is programmed to communicate only mobile phone use was explicitly cited as a means of information shar- unit to mobile unit. Service patrol operators or vehicles in ing at most survey sites. Portions of most information flows of each of the case study locations were equipped with public mutual interest depend on the wireline network, such as 911 safety radios. call processing and even cellular telephone services. Some In the Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and New York Thruway locations have established hotlines. For example, the WSP call regions, all state troopers and transportation field units share center and the WSDOT center communicate via an intercom a common radio system. San Antonio, in cooperation with system. This system enables the WSP dispatcher to communi- Bexar County, is in the process of deploying a new trunked- cate directly with a traffic system operations specialist in the radio system in late 2003 to support public safety operations WSDOT center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. throughout the city and county. Once implemented, this sys- Action on the highway is best and most immediately tem will provide a common frequency for San Antonio Police, described via land mobile radio, as is evidenced by its near San Antonio Fire Department, and TxDOT to communicate universal use by transportation and public safety agencies. in the field while managing traffic incidents. However, in most situations, field personnel from one agency Until recently, radio systems and cellular telephone ser- cannot talk directly by radio to counterparts from other agen- vices were quite far apart in capabilities, and cellular could cies. Public safety agencies, particularly law enforcement not replace radio. Lately, cellular capabilities have improved