Too often in critical situations communications the data exchanges between law enforcement and public safety agencies are hampered by equipment incompatibilities. In large part these incompatibilities are due to a lack of standards to provide a common, nationwide approach to telecommunications and information sharing. The Department of Homeland Security's Wireless Public SAFEty Interoperable COMmunications program (SAFECOM), the umbrella initiative to coordinate all Federal, state, local, and Tribal users to achieve national wireless communications interoperability and the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) have a common goal to resolve these issues by supporting the development and implementation of communications standards that will advance communications interoperability.
The OLES Public Safety Communications Systems program provides technical support to both of these programs. The OLES program, drawing on existing standards as well as critical requirements provided by public safety practitioners, provides insight and direction to IT and wireless standards committees that are developing standards for voice, data, image, and video communications. To meet the short term needs of law enforcement and public safety agencies until such standards are in place, the program also evaluates commercial devices that can provide for interim interoperability.