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IT as a Partner and Cover

Every technology conference or event I attend, I hear the same complaints echoed about Information Technology Departments making technology innovation more difficult, slowing projects to a crawl, or blocking implementations all together. We all know from working the road, that their are fellow officers you just don't get along with but trust your life with as a partner and as cover. The same is true of your partner departments within a city or government structure. You don't have to like the person, but you surly do rely on them for backup and cover.

When taking to agencies having problems with their IT departments, the story is always very similar. They bought a product and IT can't get it to work, is dragging their feet, or won't provide the necessary connections to IT infrastructure. All too often technology is purchased without consulting the IT Directors and then they, the IT staff are expected to make the product work as advertised. The challenges here are immense, the IT director and his staff is responsible for your government IT network and must make sure that every piece of software, hardware, switch, router and cable conform to existing standards and meet a variety of law enforcement IT standards established by the Federal Government including CJIS and PII regulations. These products can not have known vulnerabilities and can not endanger the IT infrastructure, exposing it to hacking, malware, ransomware, or other cyber security threat. IT staff simply has to look at new technology from a different vantagepoint.

I have found that when considering an new technology implementation, if the product connects to Wi-Fi, plugs into a network port, requires a port to be opened, special software to be installed on a computer, or in anyway touches IT infrastructure, a member of the IT staff must be on the team from the start. Having the IT staff be part of the initial product review, RPF design, contracting, project design, planning, and implementation will result in your project not only being approved and gaining buy in from all involved, but the overall project will move faster with less surprises and budget delays,

Having the IT team as part of the RFP allows them to spec hardware and software requirements to conform to technology standards and makes sure the bid you are receiving is an accurate representation of the final project implementation.

I have been told by members of IT staff's from various departments that they enjoy and have fun with public safety projects because they are out of the norm. Installing city wide video systems, building smart city networks, working with cutting edge technology is all fun and outside the norm of their jobs. The IT professionals just want to be part of the process and solution, not throwing up roadblocks. With technology implementations your IT project managers, network engineers and systems administrators can be you best backup.

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