October was National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Throughout the month, New York City (NYC) Emergency Management agency shared information to help community members take steps to safeguard their personal information. As the frequency and complexity of cyberthreats continue to increase, it is more important than ever to stay vigilant online. This vigilance should not be confined to a single month, but rather integrated into communities across the country and around the world 365 days a year.
Accountability and transparency are prominent features of modern police reform. Yet, the concepts and structures for holding police accountable trace back to the origins of modern democratic police service in London, UK. A key motivation for creating public police service was the lack of accountability afforded by private police services – the watchman model. With Americans’ deeply embedded concerns over governmental excesses, layers of oversight have been imposed on police departments and agencies over U.S. history. The modern digital age poses new challenges and opportunities for police agencies to earn public trust through transparency. Modern technologies also pose serious obstacles to important due process in accountability of police services.
During the years leading up to 2020, the policing profession has faced many challenges attracting talent and retaining experience, particularly among sworn officers. A robust national economy, as evidenced by exceptionally low unemployment, had been one contributing factor to diminished applicant interest in the police profession. In 2017 and 2019, both the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) characterized police recruiting and staffing as in “crisis.”
As if the first two decades of the 21st century were not dynamic enough, the first year of the third decade has impacted every person on multiple levels. While the viral pandemic continues to affect every profession, health care professionals around the world are dramatically reassessing their service delivery models. The pandemic indiscriminately sweeps across geopolitical borders, similarly the strong call for social justice reforms is traversing the globe demanding action and change. For example, within hours of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, demonstrations insisting on social justice reform emerged in cities worldwide. The energy behind these demonstrations and even violent protests continue to fuel police reform measures beyond the U.S. In a series of four articles, the DomPrep Journal will examine the foremost initiatives of modern police reform in America.
Effective disaster response and recovery involves the whole community. In the United States, there is a wide variation as to how families acquire durable medical equipment (DME) for their children with disabilities post disaster. DME is essential for those children to maintain their usual level of independence as well as their health and well-being. The absence of established process that enables children with disabilities to access DME is a significant gap in preparedness plans.
Law enforcement is having a perfect storm with challenges in hiring, challenges in retention, and challenges with early retirement. This podcast is a follow up to a discussion that began in January 2017 with Joseph Trindal. Joe leads a team of retired federal, state, and local criminal justice officials providing consulting and training services to public and private sector organizations enhancing leadership, risk management, preparedness, and police services.
Drones are having a dramatic impact on public safety and emergency management operations. While some form of public safety drone has been in place for a while, drones did not begin to see wider adoption until 2016 when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implemented 14 CFR Part 107 (Part 107) commercial flight authorization and later with Certificate of Authorizations (COA). These FAA regulatory changes made it easier for public safety and emergency management agencies to meet regulatory requirements.
The United States is currently facing historic challenges. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, the United States is experiencing an historic rise in gun violence and civil unrest. Social issues, such as a dramatic increase in unemployment, a rise in domestic violence, an increase in substance abuse, social isolation, mental health issues, and uncertainty surrounding when the pandemic will end are leading to increased anxiety and frustration. In an era of coronavirus, do not forget that reopening plans need to focus on security, as well as health and safety.
British statistician, George Box, famously stated that “all models are wrong, but some are useful.” The nation’s experience with COVID-19 has highlighted this fact as policy makers have struggled to calibrate their actions based on imperfect data and modeling. Yet, modeling is useful and will continue to be an important aspect of emergency management.
At the beginning of a 28 May 2020 court hearing, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup made the following opening statement, “If there ever was a corporation that deserved to go to prison, it is PG&E for the number of people it has killed in California.” Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) survival for the last decade has been described in some detail in Parts 1 and 2 of this three-part article. The vox populi of the courts, regulators, fellow utilities, businesses, and customers has most of the time fallen on deaf ears with the leadership of PG&E. The facts that create this type of environment are extremely complicated.