FirstNet Gets New Senior Law Enforcement Advisor
34-year veteran of LAPD Mike Bostic joins the team to improve public safety communicationsBy Calibre Press | Sep 20, 2016
FirstNet is pleased to have Mike Bostic on board as our new senior law enforcement advisor. Chief Bostic has been an advocate for FirstNet’s vision since even before there was a FirstNet. He spent 34 years in the Los Angeles Police Department before starting a second career in the telecommunications industry. From being a beat cop to a chief, Chief Bostic witnessed, firsthand, the make-or-break impact of communications on police work. During his time in the department, Chief Bostic oversaw information technology and facility development used to create a new command and control system. From there, he worked in Raytheon’s open architecture and systems integration division and most recently served as Director of Customer Advocacy at Nokia.
What brought you to FirstNet?
I have been a police officer most of my adult life and never met a finer group of people than my public safety friends. I have been following and supporting FirstNet since its inception while at LAPD (in the broadband network initial discussions), and during my careers at Raytheon and Nokia.
This is the greatest project in my professional career and I wanted to be a part of the team that finally gave public safety the technology the rest of the world already enjoys. This will be my greatest career accomplishment.
What was your first public safety role, and what was your latest public safety role?
I began my career at 21, after graduating from the LAPD Academy in 1973. I served for 34 years at all levels and types of commands, in 28 assignments. I also served as an Interim Chief of Police of Calexico, California. After retiring from law enforcement, I worked for both Raytheon and Nokia in the public safety communications business. My roles in law enforcement and public safety communications have prepared me to serve as the senior law enforcement officer for FirstNet.
What excites you most about the nationwide public safety broadband network – what are the key benefits that you see?
First of all, only one’s imagination is the limit of what this system will provide to all of us in public safety. I see the following:
- A network controlled and managed by public safety with no conflicting priorities.
- The end of stove-piped, stand-alone systems that provide little interoperability, and even less capability.
- The future of all our current systems of dispatch, records management, video capabilities, record access capabilities, bio access and capabilities at our fingertips.
- All of our current systems will become applications on the network that cities, counties, states and federal agencies can purchase based on need and affordability.
- Applications built by any agency to fit a particular need and to share with others.
- Real-time crime data at our finger tips.
- Real-time streaming of the crime scene, the fire scene, or any other scene where public safety is needed, at our fingertips.
- Having a reliable cellular system that doesn’t fail in an emergency.
- Eventually, a voice system for anywhere in the nation, anytime, for any public safety officer.
What do you wish the law enforcement community better understood about FirstNet? (In other words, what’s a common myth and let’s debunk it)
If I had one wish it would be that all of public safety could put down their personal preferences and do what is right for a nation of public safety officers that have been poorly served by our current states of technology. Solving our technology problem has never been about the technology, it is generally about governance and the lack of mutual cooperation. We have a chance to change the face of our technology on a system we control. I hope everyone jumps into the game to provide input, and not take a “when I see it, I will believe it” approach. We would benefit from unlimited participation by public safety.
How have you seen first responder/public safety technology evolve over your career?
I began my career with a radio in the car on a short, slinky-style cord. We just had voice in the car. You would get in a foot pursuit and have to risk your partner’s life by going back to get help on the radio. In the early 1980’s we got the current “bricks” we all still carry around, or at least have in the car, when we need them. The greatest change was cell phones and devices that led to computers in the car. The systems are slow, but they work. When the networks crashed, so did our devices. Commercial networks were not built for us, be we made the best of it and still do. My lament is that all these software systems and devices have only made the process more difficult to deliver reliable service on a commercial network. I have seen a sea of new systems and devices trying unsuccessfully to solve that problem. The amount of money spent on systems that are generally not used is mind boggling. I have travelled around the country working with departments to improve their systems. I have been to many small cities and towns that bought separate systems for fire and police, even though both could have easily operated on one system.
If you could have a dream public safety app, what would it be?
I would like to see an application developed that could access all video from body cameras, cars, stationary cameras, cell phones and any other devices. The video could be streamed to an officer or firefighter en route to a scene, providing him or her with details about what is happening at the scene. I am hopeful that someone will build that.
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