Jul 20 2013

Oakland’s Project to Improve Fire and Police Coordination and Response Time

At the July 16 Oakland City Council meeting, a vote on phase two of its Federally funded Domain Awareness Center (DAC) was delayed until July 30 in response to citizens’ privacy concerns. Officials describe DAC as an “immense time-saving tool” for their police and fire departments. It will assemble multiple sources of data and video  streams from across the city– the Coliseum, the Port, Oakland schools, as well as  license-plate readers, gunshot detectors, Twitter feeds, and alarm notifications– to create a unified “situational awareness” computer base. Information provided by the Piedmont Police Department would feed into Oakland’s DAS, including the new LPR system photos of license plates and cars crossing Oakland/Piedmont borders. Oakland’s City Council approved DAC in concept in 2010. The second phase of DAC was approved by the Oakland Public Safety Committee on July 9. It will involve collaborating with other government entities to share additional data and video feeds for the DAC, according to Renee Domingo, Oakland’s Director of Emergency Services.

Several other cities have experience with the DAC concept. Long Beach was the first in California, opening its $21 million security Command and Control Center in June,2011. Microsoft Corporation and the New York Police Department (NYPD) launched their Domain Awareness System (DAS) last summer and subsequently licensed it to other cities. DAS analyzes crime patterns in real time, integrating geographic information displays with massive layers of personal history–including both criminal and public domain information–about any suspect in a matter of seconds. DAS collects and archives streams from thousands of NYPD and private CCTV cameras in New York City, integrating data from multiple non-NYPD intelligence databases 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its headquarters in a lower Manhattan office tower features a command-and-control center staffed around the clock by both New York police and stakeholders, including the Federal Reserve, Bank of New York, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, and CitiGroup. Metadata  collected by DAS will be retained for five years, and unspecified “environmental data” will be stored indefinitely.

DAC and DAS are based on the 2001 Total Information Awareness (TIA) program headed by John Poindexter in response to the 9/11 attack. It is a functional view of world-wide information. Transaction space (internet, landlines, satellite phones, cellphones, etc) is mined to discover and track terrorists through their information signature. TIA was developed to pick terrorist signals out of the vast information stream. To get a sense of TIA, DAS and DAC, readers can watch the two-year-old CBS TV fictional crime drama “Person of Interest” which was inspired by the federal TIA.

More information:


Leave a Comment