Mississippi, IBM team and deploy homeland security system

IBM and Mississippi officials Wednesday announced the initial deployment of the state's new Automated System Project (ASP), which is designed to provide real-time information to law enforcement officials by linking them and other public safety agencies in a single database.

IBM and Mississippi officials Wednesday announced the initial deployment of the state's new Automated System Project (ASP), which is designed to provide real-time information to law enforcement officials by linking them and other public safety agencies in a single database.

Each centralised data centre network will consist of one IBM eServer iSeries 825 and two eServer xSeries 445 systems running Tarantella Secure Global Desktop Enterprise Edition remote access software, Novell's SUSE Linux and IBM's DB2. The data centre will be linked to an identical data centre at a separate location to provide redundancy and guarantee that there's no single point of failure, according to Jay Bretzman, director of eServer xSeries products at IBM.

When complete, the project will provide mobile units with real-time access to all available public safety information, including mug shots, arrest warrants, criminal intelligence, hazardous materials data and medical emergency protocols — data that Bretzman said will enhance officials' ability to prevent and respond to incidents that pose a danger to the public.

"It is critical that all of our first responders have instant access to the critical information that can save lives, speed arrests and ensure public safety," Major Julian Allen, ASP's director, said in a statement.

The initial deployment will tie together three sheriff's departments, 10 police departments, 15 fire departments and two EMS providers within three coastal counties in Mississippi, Bretzman said.

"The goal was to enhance the first responders' abilities to do their jobs and provide all the public safety information ... in one place [and] simply managed," he said. "One of the key elements is the iSeries back end — what the customers were looking for was a turnkey system that was easy to install and easy to integrate into their existing systems and that required minimal IT skills while still being an extensible solution."

The first phase of the project, completed in February, provides a single point of access to the existing jail management system of three county jails. The second phase, begun this month, allows integrated records management and computer-aided dispatch for fire and law enforcement, he said.

The third and final phase of the project, which is expected to be deployed in October, will implement the mobile data infrastructure by connecting laptops in all police, fire and emergency vehicles to multiple databases, according to Bretzman.

The initial project deployment is being funded by $US14 million in federal grants, he said.

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