Equipment and training for the taking

     The tragedy of 9/11 caused America's elected officials to recognize that law enforcement and other emergency responders around the nation were under funded. There was a stunning realization that the public was regularly asking its public safety professionals to do more with less. Adding the new demands of counter-terrorism would bring agencies to the brink.

     As a result, the federal government initiated a number of new grant programs to help public safety organizations purchase the equipment and training they required to take on the challenges of a post-9/11 world. Direct assistance programs, such as the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP), allow agencies to receive important tools and the training required to use them effectively.

Equipment and training awards
     CEDAP is a federal grant program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In Fiscal Year 2007, DHS planned to award $33.7 million in equipment and training. A DHS press release boasts, "Since its inception in fiscal year 2005, more than $69.7 million in equipment and equipment training has been awarded through CEDAP to law enforcement agencies, fire and other emergency responders."

     The CEDAP grants are limited to law enforcement, fire and other emergency responder organizations with specific financial and capability needs. The agencies must demonstrate that the equipment will be used to improve their ability and capacity to respond to a major critical incident or work with other first responders.

     Equipment and equipment training awards are offered in five categories: personal protective equipment; thermal imaging, night vision and video surveillance tools; chemical and biological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and interoperable communications equipment.

     The program's goal is to see that "CEDAP equipment awards are integrated with state planning processes for regional response and asset distribution. Each state's administrative agency has the opportunity to review applications submitted by first responder organizations within their state to ensure that equipment requests are consistent with their state homeland security strategy."

     Products eligible for CEDAP grants are taken from the Responder Knowledge Base (RKB) found at www.rkb.mipt.org. The RKB is a Web-based database of emergency response products. The original goal of the RKB was to give public safety leaders a central repository for emergency products, information on certifications, as well as a way to research interoperability of different products.

     To establish the CEDAP product list, officials at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, review different products and select specific brands and models to be included on the grant. Once the products are selected and funding is secured, FEMA announces the CEDAP application period. Applications are completed online using the RKB, and then competitively reviewed for the award process. Each applicant agency selects one item, that they have not been able to acquire through other DHS programs, from the menu of available equipment choices.

     In 2007, the following products were offered through CEDAP:

  • Bullard's TacSight SE35 Thermal Imager
  • AN/PVS-14 Monocular Night Vision Security Kit from ITT Night Vision
  • CEDAP Chemical Detection Kit including one Ahura First Defender and one MSA Sirius Multigas Detector
  • CEDAP PPE Kit which includes a MSA Millennium CBRN APR, MSA CBRN canisters, a Dupont Tychem CPF 3 NFPA 1994 Class 3 (2001 Edition) coverall and shoulder-length overhood ensemble, one pair ONGUARD Industries Hazmax boots, and black nylon carry bag.
  • Alion Science and Technology's CounterMeasures Risk Analysis Software Package
  • WS-DSS Detection/Deterrence Search and Surveillance System from Zistos Corp.
  • Homeland Security Comprehensive Assessment Model (HLS-CAM) from the National Domestic Preparedness Coalition
  • Communications-Applied Technology's Incident Commanders' Radio Interface (ICRI)
  • LCD-3 lightweight chemical agent detector from Smiths Detection
  • MobileSynchRMS (software and hardware) from In-Synch Systems
  • AristaTek's PEAC-WMD Incident Command Kit
  • RAMP System for biodetection from Response Biomedical Corp.
  • HazMasterG3 decision support system from Alluviam LLC
  • StarWitness Video Pro from Signalscape
  • Stedi-Eye Stabilized Day/Night Binocular from Fraser-Volpe LLC
  • Pen-Link's Tactical LINCOLN System
  • Eomax Corp.'s Wolf Pack Remote Viewing System (CT/AT Kit)
  • XOA portable video surveillance system from Sur-Tec

Phase IV in New Orleans
     FEMA and DHS recently completed the fourth phase of CEDAP grants. A wonderful aspect of the CEDAP grant is not only does an agency receive essential equipment, but CEDAP also pays for an agency representative to attend a mandatory training session on the new equipment.

     From May 29 to June 1, 2007, more than 700 emergency responders traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, for training. Each day of training was 10 hours long and covered the basics of how to use the products, identified emergency situations where the products can be deployed and a short practical exercise.

     The federal government offers many grants to help agencies prepare for their homeland defense role. CEDAP is one of the few programs that includes training on the product, helping to ensure that officers can put their new equipment to work effectively and efficiently.

     For more information on the CEDAP program, visit: www.rkb.mipt.org or www.ojp.usdoj.gov/odp/equipment_cedap.htm

Heat-seeing equipment
     In the past three Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP) grant phases, thermal imagers (Tis) have been selected as critical tools for both police and fire agencies available through the program. Nearly 600 law enforcement Tis were awarded in the fourth phase, and approximately 130 fire service Tis were presented.

     There are at least a dozen identifiable applications in law enforcement for Tis, many of them applicable to normal street patrol situations. Some of the most effective and common patrol applications are listed below.

     Finding fugitives: Criminals know how to camouflage themselves, blending in with shadows and avoiding the scan of passing spotlights. Officers can use a TI to detect a suspect's body heat, even when there is nothing immediately visible. As a passive device, the TI does not alert the suspect that he has been discovered.

     Looking for evidence: Frequently, fleeing suspects leave a trail of evidence. These items have a unique heat signature. By using a TI, officers can scan an area after a foot pursuit to determine what, if anything, the suspect may have dropped. Even items that might be hard to see with a flashlight could be easier to detect with an imager.

     Search and rescue: While a child lost in a park, or an Alzheimer's patient who has wandered from home, will want to be found, the application is similar to finding fugitives. The lost person's body heat will penetrate farther than the beam of a flashlight. Tis also can assist officers in locating victims (or evidence) after mass casualty incidents, such as a building collapse or terrorist event.

     Surveillance: Tis can monitor any area where eyesight or night vision goggles may not work. Officers can use the same cover of darkness as the suspects, without losing the ability to see a greater distance with the TI.

     Visit the Law Enforcement Thermographers' Association at www.leta.org for more information on thermal imaging and law enforcement applications.

Jonathan Bastian is a police officer in Lexington, Kentucky. He works part-time with Bullard as a thermal imaging specialist and is certified through the Law Enforcement Thermographers' Association (LETA) as a thermal imaging instructor. Bastian has written dozens of articles and one book on the use of thermal imagers in public safety.

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