Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Worth a thousand words

Nlets, the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, is a critical service used by virtaully all United States law enforcement agencies. Nlets is keeping the acronym, but has recently changed its full name to the International Justice and Public Safety Network.  Nlets is just that: a network, through which over a billion electronic messages annually are routed to and from law enforcement agencies at all levels of government.

Many Nlets messages concern wanted persons and vehicles.  A typical message, for example, would be a regional broadcast for a missing person, or suspect-at-large.  As bizarre as this may sound in the 21st century, Nlets messages do not support images at the present time. Thus, you might receive a message to be on the lookout for a victim who is believed to have been abducted by her ex-husband, driving a 2011  Mitsubishi Outlander--but the message will not include an image of the victim, the suspect, or the vehicle type.

This is about to change.  This month's edition of the Police Chief contains an article, A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words, that describes a project underway involving Nlets, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Justice, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, aimed at moving beyond text and voice-based messages to incorporate images in Nlets when appropriate.

I have been appointed to the practitioner advisory group impaneled to provide input on this project. I attended my first meeting this past fall, and will be attending a second one soon. It is an exciting development, long overdue, that will bring improved capability to virtually every police officer in the United States.


Steve said...

There must have been at least a thousand words in the articley you linked to, and no pictures.

Steve said...

Are you keeping track to see if word verification cuts down on participation?

Tom Casady said...


Yes, I am. I use Google Analytics to track pageviews, referrals, and so forth.

Anonymous said...


A perfect example of a picture being worth a thousand words. Just in case the caption wasn't included in the link this was a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk in NYC. The Police officer was giving the homeless guy a pair of size 12 shoes. I don't get choked up to often but this story brought a lump to my throat. Good job officer!
Gun Nut.