Technology improves CBRNE response, detection
The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department uses numerous programs designed to assist in the detection and response to Chemical-Biological-Radiological-Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE incidents). These programs include deployment of detection and response equipment and the outfitting of a core group of 200 sworn Metro Police officers able to operate in highly technical incidents involving hazardous environments, including Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
A challenge to maintaining this response effort, said MPD Inspector Steven Sund, is efficient tracking of equipment, budget, training, medical evaluations and personnel certifications associated with operating these programs.
In his course paper in Technology for Homeland Security, Sund explored ways to use technology to improve tracking of resources associated with the program. Improved tracking methods would, in turn, improve security.
1) In his paper, Sund noted that the existing tracking procedure basically involved Excel databases and paper files.
“This method of tracking has proven very ineffective and has created difficulties in tracking training and certifications, equipment, maintenance, and the inability to track expenditures and maintenance costs,” Sund wrote.
To address this challenge, Sund’s paper examined using an automated asset tracking and management system. This system could track equipment and staffing as well as budget and inventory. Further, this system would utilize active and passive Radio Frequency Identification Technology.
2) The information provided through studying the use of technology in a homeland security environment expanded Sund’s understanding of available technologies and applications which could be effectively utilized in this effort. Numerous technologies were studied in the course, he noted, such as active and passive Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) and relational databases. From the studies of these technologies, Sund was able to benchmark their use in industry and validate their use within a law enforcement/homeland security environment. In addition, he took the use of active RFID technology and developed it into a HAZMAT site security concept which could enhance the safety of first responders.
3) Since completing this research in the NPS program, the MPD is considering this technology not only as a possible solution to tracking the specialized equipment and training, but also the use of the technology for maintaining oversight and integrity of HAZMAT hot zones.