For Immediate Release:
October 1, 1998
G 98 -72
Contact: Mary Hanley
Washington, DC - Vice President Gore today released a Commerce
Department report discussing the many ways in which information technologies
have enhanced public safety. The report, Safety Nets: Protecting Lives
and Property in the Information Age, provides several examples of ways
technology is being used by law enforcement officers to better protect
Vice President Gore released the report while announcing new funding
from the Department of Justice for police departments nationwide for new
equipment purchases and administrative hires to better serve America's
communities. "I am proud to announce a new study by the Department of Commerce
that shows new technology saves both time and money. Five minutes spent
on a laptop computer, for example, allows an officer to save up to three
hours he would have spent running back and forth to the station," Vice
President Gore said.
The report, issued by the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA), underscores the Clinton Administration's
commitment to bring the benefits of information technology to the public
safety sector. It is the third in a series of reports released by NTIA
that track the impact of telecommunications and information technology
on Americans. The reports are based on research from NTIA's Telecommunications
and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP), which provides
matching grants to non-profits that use new technology in innovative, yet
"New technologies are reinventing the way patients obtain medical treatments, how law enforcement officers protect our streets, and how communities share information," said Commerce Secretary William M. Daley. "At a time when public safety resources are scarce, these technologies are enhancing our public safety efforts."
Safety Nets describes how TIIAP grant recipients use computer
technology to enable police departments to search each others' databases
for leads on suspects. New technologies are also put to work to direct
fire fighters to the scene of an emergency by the fastest route. Computerized
mapping helps another grant recipient track authorized fires as well as
wildfires to determine whether or not they will spread.
"In public safety professions, fast and accurate information is critical,"
said Larry Irving, assistant secretary of Commerce and Administrator of
NTIA. "Police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and
other public safety officers are using technology to not only save time,
but to literally save lives and property."
The TIIAP program was initiated in 1994. Since its inception, it has
awarded approximately $118 million in matching funds that has spurred over
$300 million in total investments.
Today's report is part of NTIA's effort to share the lessons learned
by its grant recipients. The report and additional information on TIIAP
is available on NTIA's website at