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Monterey CA - June 2012

Alums, Peace Officers Gain Insight into NPS Technology

CAPTION: CHDS alum Rick Braziel, Sacramento Police Chief and president of the California Peace Officers Association, discusses remote sensing technology with Dr. Fred Kruse.
Press Release

From unmanned aerial vehicles to hastily formed communication networks, some 150 peace officers from around California gained insight into some dazzling high-tech tools of security during a briefing at the Naval Postgraduate School on May 21.

The delegation from the California Peace Officers Association (CPOA) included three alumni and one current student of the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security - -Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel, Monterey Deputy Chief Michael Aspland, San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli and Captain Marc Shaw of the California Highway Patrol. The CPOA met in Monterey as part of a leadership summit.

As part of the summit, three NPS researchers outlined an array of defense-related projects that hold potential for benefitting homeland security. And, the relationship could be mutually beneficial as the association is able to supply subject matter experts who can provide feedback to ongoing research.

"This is a partnership we need to take advantage of," said Braziel, current association president. "Our association is a mix of front-line employees, chiefs and sheriffs, rural and urban, state agencies and harbor patrols. It’s the only association in California inclusive of everyone in law enforcement."

Among the research programs presented:

  • Dr. Ray Buettner discussed the Research and Experimentation for Local and International Emergency and First Responders Program (RELIEF). This program fosters collaboration among non-government relief groups, technology developers, government agency personnel and military members to solve emergency response challenges.

To meet that goal, RELIEF links the emergency response community with companies developing applicable technologies during periodic demonstrations at Camp Roberts in Monterey County. Companies can share technology, no sales representatives are allowed to attend, while participants can observe and provide feedback. The trial and error method is prized.

"The idea is for them to learn from you what the technology needs to do," Buettner said. "You should be part of this dialogue as we move forward."

The technology spans everything from various unmanned aerial vehicles to database access systems to portable communications and power technology.

  • Buettner along with Captain Carol O’Neal presented an overview of the Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER), is an initiative by the Secretary of the Navy to build stakeholder interest in applications of military unmanned systems. Along with the technological aspect, the program examines the ethical issues related to using such weaponry.

Technology derived from the program comes in many forms, from robots to unmanned undersea vessels.

For example, CRUSER has worked for more than 10 years developing a communications tool dubbed "Seaweb." Originally, Seaweb was envisioned as a network of sensors that tracked submarines close to shore. It has evolved into technology that basically serves as a sea-based cellular communications network enabling submarines to communicate while transiting underwater. The effort brings together military researchers, academics and end-users. In addition to the technological challenges, CRUSER also explores the ethics of unmanned weaponry.

"We want to look at this from a holistic standpoint," O’Neal said.

  • Dr. Fred Kruse discussed NPS’ Remote Sensing Center at the Naval Postgraduate School, which was established to bring together to research applications for remote sensing technology. This Center includes faculty and researchers from the physics, electrical and computer engineering, computer Science, meteorology, and oceanography departments.

Among the projects researchers with the Center have studied using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) to detect trail networks traversing beneath forested canopy. The group has also utilized technology to combat helicopter brownouts and also researches change detection technology, which is used to track impacts of disasters on the land and cityscape. The aim is to develop products able to operate should traditional power and communications sources be inoperable after an event.

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