Autonomous Vehicle Training Challenges for Law Enforcement | Domestic Preparedness Photo: ©

Autonomous Vehicle Training Challenges for Law Enforcement

by Joseph Trindal -

In the early morning hours of Saturday, 1 December 2018, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) unit observed a Gray Tesla Model S traveling southbound on US-101 at about 70 mph. The CHP unit, a two-officer patrol, pulled alongside of the Tesla and noticed that the single driver/occupant appeared to be asleep. Activating the CHP unit emergency lights and siren failed to wake the driver. Apparently, the Tesla Autopilot, a semi-autonomous driving feature was “assisting” the vehicle from running off the roadway. According to the CHP report, the officers proceeded to pull the CHP unit in front of the Tesla and, using the autonomous crash avoidance safety system, the vehicle was slowed without colliding with the CHP unit. The Tesla driver was awakened by the officers at his door, whereupon the driver, displaying intoxicated behavior, was placed in custody and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Autonomous vehicles pose this and other challenges for law enforcement agencies.


The Importance of Legal Preparedness for Tribal Nations

by Tina Batra Hershey -

Public health emergencies, including infectious disease and natural disasters, are issues that every community faces. To address these threats, it is critical for all jurisdictions to understand how law can be used to enhance public health preparedness, as well as improve coordination and collaboration across jurisdictions. As sovereign entities, tribal nations have the authority to create their own laws and take the necessary steps to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Thus, legal preparedness for tribal nations is crucial to public health response.


High School Interns – A Valuable Community Resource

by Jennifer Pearsall -

New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) has designed an internship program specifically tailored for high school students. The agency shares its lessons learned to help other agencies understand why such efforts are important, how the program works, and what steps agencies can take to start their own intern programs. Engaging at the high school level helps recruit a valuable yet underutilized resource and promotes overall community resilience.


Force Multipliers for Public Safety

by Catherine L. Feinman -

As a hurricane approaches, a leader must decide whether to issue an order to evacuate or to shelter in place. When creating active shooter plans, school officials must determine what information can and should be shared to mitigate the threat. To mitigate disaster, each community must consider the unique risks and threats that it faces. As emergency preparedness professionals age, they must engage youths to ensure future resilience. This edition of the DomPrep Journal highlights four key force multipliers for promoting public safety: information sharing, crisis leadership, situational awareness, and youth engagement.


Balancing Privacy & School Safety Within FERPA

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

On 2 January 2019, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission (MSDHSPSC) released its initial report. The commission report addressed many critical issues and lesson learned within its 15 chapters. The chapter on information sharing discussed the actual or perceived restrictions from privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The discussion addressed several areas where there is significant confusion and dispute that continues until today, and directly impacts safety and security planning, preparedness, and collaboration.


Situational Awareness & How to Obtain It

by Jason Pagan -

Emergency management is a dynamic field filled with numerous personalities managing ever-changing environments. Some emergency managers handle disastrous events on a yearly basis compared with others who go their entire careers without facing a single disaster. They maneuver unique political landscapes, manage robust emergency management offices, or work in offices of one. In any setting, one of the critical tools found within the emergency manager’s toolbox is maintaining situational awareness.


Whole-of-Government Approach: What It Means and How It Translates to Improving National Health Security

The purpose of the whole-of-government approach is to establish a unified effort between government agencies to maximize all available resources in a collaborative effort. The use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons; cyber warfare; emerging infectious diseases that could lead to a pandemic; and the growing occurrence of catastrophic natural disasters and human-caused incidents, such as wildfires, are driving efforts to share resources.

DHS S&T Holds Operational Experiment in Houston

More than 220 participants from 13 Houston-area public safety agencies and 20 industry partners tested first responder technology integration in a December exercise at the Port of Houston. Led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the experiment integrated next generation first responder technology and safety agencies’ existing technology to assess their interoperability using guidance from the Next Generation First Responder Integration Handbook.

DHS S&T Adds Real-World Benchmarks to Software Assurance Repository

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently completed the integration of more than 9,700 real-world software test cases from the Static Tools Analysis Modernization Project (STAMP) into the Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP). The test cases, known as BugInjector cases, improve software by enabling developers to evaluate their products against realistic test cases.

Understanding Warfighter Performance From the Inside Out

A new program out of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Biological Technologies Office could help the Department of Defense enhance and sustain military readiness both by revolutionizing how troops train, perform, and recover, and by mitigating shortages of highly qualified candidates for extremely specialized roles.

Toxic at Best

Medical countermeasures include vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic equipment that are critical to a multilayered defense strategy to protect warfighters from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. The medical solutions Joint Project Management Office for Medical Countermeasure Systems and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology office develop prevent disease, accurately diagnose exposure to biological agents, and provide post-exposure treatments that save the lives of U.S. and allied service members.