Portfolio projects in the Public Policy arena
I’ve worked with local, national, and international governments on public policy, public awareness and education, and public affairs. I’ve written speeches for ministers of foreign governments on technology and policy launches, written and produced video for TV to explain policy to citizens and stakeholders, and conceived and developed campaigns for important government programs. I’ve worked as a brand journalist around the world in all media.
Trinidad E999 (911) Public Safety Communication Roll-Out
Writer and Producer: R. Michael Brown
Citizens & Icom Become the Eyes and Ears with the Police in the Country of Colombia
Special to ICOM News: R. Michael Brown
The South American country of Colombia is well known for its beauty and history, but also for news about its crime rate. According to United Nations Crime Statistics, Colombia had a homicide rate of 53-66 murders per 100,000 people per year in the early part of this decade.
Kidnapping, which peaked at 3,572 in 2000 was #1 in the world.
How were the 91,000 police officers nationwide able to cope with this and other crimes? They couldn’t do it alone.
In 2004, as a strategy of the democratically elected national government states like Antioquia, whose capital is the famous Medellin, a Citizens Support Network was created to work as volunteers with the police.
“Over 10,000 volunteers in the Citizen Support Network in Antioquia have increased the number of eyes on the street for the police.” said Gus Troconis, Icom Sales Manager for Latin America. “They are working to help the police minimize crime and the chaos caused by drug dealers.”
It’s working. Now, the most recent homicide rate nationwide is 36 per 100,000, dropping steadily since 2003. In 2009, the kidnapping rate fell to 172.
“Last year the Citizen Support Network in Antioquia started using their own conventional IDASTM radio system.” said Troconis. “There are 125 municipalities and 29 now have FR5000 VHF IDAS repeaters. The goal is to achieve 100% Icom coverage throughout Antioquia in 3 years.”
The Antioquia Police Department needed to migrate the volunteers from a police analog system with 63 repeaters. The IDAS digital/analog system was a perfect choice. So far, the volunteers have 121 F3161D portables and 75 F5061D mobiles, and they can still use their old radios on the new system. Eventually, all the radios will be upgraded to IDAS, at which point analog will have been phased out of use.
“The mobiles are used as base stations at the dispatch centers and in taxicabs around the cities.” Troconis said. “They have 1 volunteer in every designated area to help the police. Volunteers also patrol in marked vehicles much like the community patrols in the United States.”
Two-way radio calls are made by volunteers to the call center so command officers can dispatch an adequate number of resources to a scene for both medical and crime emergencies.
“Improving their communication technology is helping to make police and public safety more effective and efficient.” said Troconis. “The new radios make things easier and faster. We work very closely with the police department communication staff and they especially like the IDAS IP link capability between repeaters and encryption functionality of the system. We trained the police on the new system and the officers train the citizen volunteers.”
The strategic alliances with the national government and municipal authorities, public and private partnerships, monitoring services and private security, community action boards and leaders, and the Citizen’s Support Network, supported by a communication system in Antioquia, is becoming a model for other states in the country.
The environment is still a dangerous place but with the help of volunteers in the Citizen’s Support Network they are directly on the line working with police to defeat crime in their country. They are gaining success. And Icom is right along side with them, supporting their efforts.