Law Enforcement Takes Social Media Seriously

Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

As covered by Government Technology, law enforcement is taking social media seriously.  A recent survey of law enforcement agencies shows most agencies use social media, and almost all agencies are interested in using sites like Facebook and Twitter to solve crimes. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Center for Social Media released its third-annual social media survey on Oct. 2, revealing social media is a fast-growing trend in law enforcement.

Nearly 62 percent of the 600 agencies polled claimed to have a written social media policy, whereas two years ago only 35 percent claimed to have such a policy in place. More agencies said they believe social media helps improve community relations and help solve crimes than two years ago.

Overall, it appears that almost all law enforcement agencies are either using social media or interested, with 92 percent of agencies claiming to use social media sites, with nearly 70 percent of those not using social media planning to begin using it within the next year.

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Top 10 Selling to Government Posts for 2009

No year end would be complete without a plethora of “Top 10” lists.  So,  we thought it would be interesting to present to you the Top 10 most read posts by our followers. 

Here they are in reverse order:

10.  Cloud Computing–Top IT Trend in Government
The movement of government IT professionals to adopt cloud computing solutions and methods.

9.  Closing the Government Contract
Do closing techniques really work in government selling?

8.  The Case of the Mysterious 18.2% from State Stabilization for Public Safety
We were among the first to identify this unusual source of funds (worth billions of dollars) for public safety.

7.  Report Unveils State Spending Plans
As the year progressed, states began waking up to the potential within the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for public safety.

6.  Another Boost for Police Technology?
Our post on the House approving $1.25 billion over five years for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.

5.  Grant Support Program Announced
Ingram Micro rolls out a program for channel partners helping them identify grant opportunities–a growing trend.

4.  Broadband Grant Award Date Gets Pushed
For many following the broadband saga, this post announced that awards would be pushed until February 2010. 

3.  ARRA Grant Recipient Registration Site Open
Post announcing the opening of the FederalReporting.gov site for recipients of ARRA awards.

2.  Rule You Can Break:  The GSA Schedule
Many believe being on the GSA is the only way to do business with the Federal government.  We provide an alternative view.

1.  Three Types of Buyers in Government Agencies
Contractors must appeal to three different types of buyers within government agencies to be successful.

Amidst one of the worst economies in decades, the year has been difficult for many businesses.  Yet, for those selling to government, bright spots have emerged and signs of hope continue.  We are grateful for those of you who follow our blog regularly, and we invite you to continue (and share it with a friend).  We’ll do our best to offer valuable insight on how to succeed in the dynamic world of government markets.

Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2010!

All the best,

Rick & Lorin

FCC Public Safety Broadband Workshop Highlights Industry Concerns

Yesterday, Galain Solutions participated in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) workshop on broadband in public safety and homeland security.  The goal of the workshop was to enlist feedback from various industry sources with regards to the developing National Broadband Plan.  A variety of interesting perspectives were offered we will highlight in upcoming blogs.  Particularly,  we found comments made by Charles Brennan, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Radio from Pennsylvania to be enlightening.  Here are some key points:

The need for situational broadband.
While most of his state is covered at the consumer level for broadband, what is missing is the ability to establish mobile and situational broadband capabilities for responding to critical events.

Grants weighted toward states, not local.
Mr. Brennan argued that local agencies can not realistically act in a consistent manner with a bigger picture vision.  He believes grants should be given to states for funding of strategic initiatives.  He also urged for more block grants as opposed to competitive grants.

It’s more than the network.
While much emphasis is being placed on developing infrastructure, Mr. Brennan suggested applications are equally as important.  He further said many in public safety do not know exactly how they would utilize broadband, pointing to a need for industry education around broadband applications.

Data interoperability is key.
Mr. Brennan stated while there is much discussion related to interoperability in communications (radios specifically), data interoperability is also key.  It is imperative disparate databases can be accessed and shared across multiple applications and regions.

Data interoperability and an application focus  are “sermons” we’ve been preaching for a while.  We hope the NTIA, in its decisions related to grant funding for the BTOP, will give these issues appropriate weight and merit relative to infrastructure enhancements.
-LBB

 

Reports Unveils State Spending Plans

If you’re interested in the public safety space, you’ll likely be interested in a new report.  It shows that 26 states have decided to spend discretionary money from the economic stimulus law on public safety.  The total amount:  2.56-billion-dollars.  (Yes, billion with a “b”.)

The money comes from what’s called the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF).  SFSF is managed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), not what you would think would be a likely source for public safety money.  The writers of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included a discreet clause that allowed governors to spend a portion of their stabilization funds on “public safety or other government services”.  The portion was only 18.2%, but the total amounted to 9.8-billion-dollars.  (Yes, another “b”.)

States have been trying to decide how to spend their stabilization funds.  Some have made their decisions quite awkwardly.  Others have yet to decide.  Of those who’ve made their plans known, 26 say they’ll spend at least a portion of their 18.2% on public safety.  The largest public safety spenders are California, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, and Alabama.

The report is being published this week by Galain Solutions.  You can get a copy, including numbers for all 26 states, here.

It may not be too late to influence the other states, and certainly not too late to get in front of opportunities that will be funded by the stabilization funds.  Keep us informed how it works for you.

Cloud Computing–Top IT Trend in Government Contracting Over Next Five Years

A new research study projects government IT spending on cloud computing will grow at a dramatically faster rate than other IT expenditures.  According to a post on Nextgov.com, a study by INPUT projects Federal IT spending to grow by 3.3% over the next five years.  This compares to an expected growth rate of 27% for cloud computing over the next five years.

Cloud computing is a term describing software applications or platforms delivered as a service over the Internet.  In contrast to applications residing at each local computer, cloud configurations provide users with centrally accessible applications through a browser interface.

IMPLICATIONS

In the past, IT managers and organizational leaders have been fearful of cloud computing mainly for security reasons.  Also, in sectors such as public safety, funding mechanisms were tied to asset acquisition (e.g. buying hardware) and could not be used for “subscription-based” services. 

Expect these attitudes to change over time.  New security applications are in development that will continue to increase cybersecurity.  Restricted cloud solutions, where applications are delivered via a private, secure network as opposed to the public internet, should see a rise in deployments.  And, government procurement rules are changing to allow for the SaaS (Software as a Service) model.

In all, software and technology government contractors should be planning for a shift in how its applications are delivered, priced and serviced.  The cloud model may ultimately provide greater profitability for vendors while lowering maintenance and other costs to the taxpayer.

-LBB

APCO Says Broadband Eligibility Rules Unfair to Public Safety

In a post today on www.govtech.com, the article covers statements made by the Association for Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO)regarding eligibility rules for public safety agencies applying for broadband stimulus funds.  According to Richard Mirgon, the association’s president-elect, eligibility requirements for stimulus grants will exclude many public safety agencies since the law mandates network partnering with community institutions such as universities or health-care providers.  Mr. Mirgon argues that while certain partnerships may be appropriate, many will not work when sensitive or secure data is involved.  APCO will send a letter to the NTIA in the next few days requesting a rule change.

-LBB

10% Unemployment?: Stimulus Total Failure or Not Enough?

A number of articles have been written over the past week relating to the effects (or lack thereof) of the stimulus on the American economy.  At the heart of the debate is the unemployment rate–a staggering 9.5% for June.  And, today the Federal Reserve said unemployment could hit 10% later this year.  The Obama Administration is taking particular heat over their unemployment projections released prior to passing the stimulus law. 

The graph below illustrates their projected unemployment rate with no stimulus package compared to the unemployment rate with a stimulus package.  These data are overlaid with the actual unemployment figures through June.  As you can see, actual unemployment is higher than anyone imagined.  Consider the 10% rate postulated by the Fed, and we’re not even on the same planet with the projections.

 

As a New York Times blog points out, some economist take a position that the original stimulus was simply not enough (add to this a slower-than-anticipated release of the money, and you get no positive economic impact).  Other economist argue the stimulus simply didn’t work, suggesting another stimulus would be a waste of money (and an economic drain on the future). 

IMPLICATIONS

Whether or not another stimulus package will be passed is yet to be seen.  What is clear from a vendor perspective is funding already committed in the current package has not yet made its way to American business.  Even the construction industry, one of the first sectors to actually see money flow, projects three-quarters of stimulus spending for 2009 will actually slip into next year

As such, contractors need to be patient and dilligent.  Alliances and partnering opportunities are more important than ever as in this environment.  Don’t wait to begin solidifying these relationships.  Focus on value creation, and pay particular attention to how your piece fits into solving the larger problem.

The rough ride is unfortunately far from over.  But times like these can help “sharpen the saw” for better days ahead.