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Video Interpretation Solutions Help Ensure Equality in the Justice System

While I was thinking about the topic of my second post in the court series leading up to the CTC conference in September, I came across an interesting news article. The state of California just announced that it will now provide court interpreters for free in all court cases. In the past, the state – along with many others – has only provided interpretation services in criminal cases. However, ensuring that everyone understands what is going on in the courtroom, no matter the case, is critical to making sure justice is dispensed fairly, efficiently and accurately. This means that court interpretation services are a crucial part of the justice system.

While this move by California is great, it is a bit behind the times. Back in 2010, the Department of Justice issued guidance on the issue of interpreters within the judicial system, noting that a particular concern was, “limiting the types of proceedings for which qualified interpreter services are provided by the court.” The letter went on to state: “Some courts only provide competent interpreter assistance in limited categories of cases, such as in criminal, termination of parental rights, or domestic violence proceedings. DOJ, however, views access to all court proceedings as critical.” This means that all states have had five years to expand their court translation services to cover all types of cases, in accordance with the Department of Justice’s standards.

However, states have been slow to take on this expansion, largely due to the high costs. California, for example, has the nation’s largest court system, spread out across a huge state. They also have about seven million residents with limited English proficiency, who speak over 200 different languages. The cost to provide translators in those locations for these residents is huge; in 2010, California spent nearly $93 million on court interpretation services. So in order to reconcile the challenge of fixed budgets with the increased demand for interpreters, state and local governments need to rethink their manual processes for deploying these services and look toward technology instead.

One major way to reduce the cost of providing interpreters and ensure that all citizens participate in a fair and balanced judicial process is using video services. To address the rising demand for interpreters and to help streamline court procedures, Cisco has developed a Connected Justice™ Video Interpretation solution (CJVI). CJVI allows interpreters to virtually join court proceedings using the high-quality video and audio features of Cisco® Unified Communications Manager and Cisco TelePresence® end-points. Read More »

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Kick-off: A Blog Series about Public Safety and Security for Government Agencies

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is changing the game for public safety. Through connected smart technologies, public safety agencies can continue to drive the needle forward as they serve their growing populations even as budgets remain constrained. Today’s deputies and officers are accustomed to a mobile world and expect these technologies to be commonplace on the job to improve situational awareness for law enforcement and first responders.

First responders pioneered robust and reliable communications. Police and fire radio systems remain workhorses of the professions. But IoE promises new levels of connectivity for personnel in the field, synthesizing real-time data for swift situational awareness. Through the variety of Cisco collaboration and wireless solutions, public safety agencies can provide first responders with real-time information to improve their situational awareness and on-location effectiveness.

Smart technologies are a force multiplier for public safety agencies and unlock the power of collaboration to improve the safety of communities. Improved practices can knock down barriers in agencies and prevent wasted funds and man-hours. For example, Cisco Connected Justice allows courts, correctional leaders and other key decision makers to perform their duties regardless of location to improve the speed and safety of the courts process. Also, consider the transport of inmates from jails to courtrooms. With every hearing, there is a lengthy and expensive checklist of costs to get the inmate to and from the hearing safely and efficiently. Using on-site TelePresence, courtroom proceedings can be conducted on-site directly with inmates – vastly reducing flight risk and enhancing safety.

Today kicks off a series of blogs that will lead up to this year’s IACP Annual Conference in October where attendees will explore the powerful advantages smart technologies provide law enforcement agencies. Over the next few months, my colleagues and I will share stories about how agencies are improving the safety of communities, saving time, reallocating resources and cutting costs by using Cisco technologies. The next blog will feature the city of McAllen, TX where law enforcement is using Cisco TelePresence in its warrant process to accelerate the investigation process within the department and provide immediate access to judges with video adjudication moving forward.

Last month, I participated in a Public Safety panel to discuss how local government and law enforcement are using Cisco technologies to address the scope of environmental challenges sheriffs face. Explore insights from the panel here. You can also go to our website to learn more about Cisco’s solutions for public safety agencies. To learn more about Connected Justice from the users’ perspective, keep an eye out for Judge Patterson’s upcoming blog series this month that will explore technology in the courtroom. There is a lot happening around public safety and security. I look forward to continuing to share insights and agency success stories as we continue to adopt and evolve with new technologies.

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Local Government and Law Enforcement Share Unique Insights

Cisco recently held a public safety panel to discuss how public sector agencies are addressing reduced workforces and constrained budgets. Central to the topic of discussion were cost-effective solutions to keep citizens and public spaces safe. Jonathan Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association, and Jeff Teer, a telecom analyst for the city of McAllen, Texas, were among the panelists who led the conversation. These leaders discussed integrating the right technology to enhance public safety and support the justice system.

Challenges for Today’s Sheriffs

Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are evaluating how technology can reduce costs. Agencies are now working with technology to leverage the right resources, data and location information to support organizational needs and improve efficiency.

During the panel, Thompson explained the scale and scope of environmental challenges facing sheriffs. Due to current federal policies, sheriffs have taken a primary role in securing and protecting the U.S. border. Thompson noted that technology is a key component to helping sheriffs operate successfully. While U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offers a very robust and viable set of solutions for their personnel, deputies will sometimes have to cover more than 25 square miles alone in remote areas. These deputies need the technology in place to fulfill their roles and communicate with not only each other but other entities (like CBP) to provide support as-needed.

Sheriffs are being asked to do more with less, and be more efficient with less. This type of pressure paired with their unique civic obligations lead to a high-stress environment. Given these circumstances, sheriffs are generally slow to adopt intricate technologies, so they require solutions that are simple and easy to use.

How are public safety agencies improving efficiencies?

Teer explained how McAllen brought Cisco TelePresence into its warrant process to accelerate investigations that require easy and immediate access to a judge. This new deployment has minimized wasted time and maximized its value and efficiency for law enforcement and the judges. The city has plans to use video adjudication to support virtual arraignments. This force multiplier will be cost-effective and improve efficiencies. By using technology to collaborate across jurisdictions, stakeholders from different agencies federal, state and local can connect to improve law enforcement. This kind of connected justice is one of Cisco’s major public safety initiatives.

Law enforcement agencies rely heavily on planning, especially when it comes to planning and evaluating pipelines. Forecasting where an agency plans to be in the next few years is very important. These projections and input from every department can help agencies to improve overall connectivity and proficiencies.

Cisco is committed to providing public safety organizations with the technologies they need to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. Visit Cisco’s safety and security website for more information about how government agencies are using Cisco technologies and solutions to improve the lives of law enforcement officers as well as citizens.

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Highlights from IACA Sydney 2014 #ConnectedJustice #CiscoPublicSafety

iacasydneyI had the opportunity to attend the International Association for Court Administration (IACA) conference in Sydney, Australia last week. Congratulations to IACA for a very successful 7th conference with an amazing group of court leaders from more than 40 countries around the world.

Distinguished speakers and panels presented  important court administration topics including on the first day a range of important presentations:

  • Opening keynote address National Judiciaries in a Global Economy delivered by Hon. Chief Justice Robert French AC Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia
  • Courts Governance Structures and Court Excellence
  • Succession Planning in Court Administration
  • International Perspectives on Access to Justice and the Empowerment of Women Affected by Family and Domestic Violence
  • The Court Administrator: Succession planning and developing future leadership
  • Access to Justice for Vulnerable Groups
  • Governance: The exploration of the roles of judicial officers & court administrators and how the relationship may be improved and enhanced
  • Balancing Security and Access through Courthouse Design

Read More »

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Mobile Public Safety: Connections on the Job

Public safety agencies continually strive to improve their effectiveness and responsiveness to incidents in their jurisdictions. With increased attention on homeland security programs, these agencies demand better interdepartmental and interagency communications with important personnel, including police officers and first responders in the field.

Mobile applications supporting police, fire, and medical response units have transitioned from simple text and voice to rich multimedia applications. Real-time video, maps with satellite imagery, Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking, and global database searches are now available in handheld devices that first responders carry with them in the field. In today’s technological sphere, public safety agencies are leveraging these new capabilities and extending their existing applications in order to enhance the efficiency and delivery of high-quality services. Read More »

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