FirstNet and Law Enforcement

Police Week


Protecting Law Enforcement data and their security

Most of us are aware that our data can be compromised online. Headlines about hacks of financial institutions or email hosting services remind us nearly weekly that relying on mobile data, applications, and online tools can put our information at risk. But what does that mean for the personal security of law enforcement officers who use mobile data tools in their professional and personal lives?

The Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team, an alliance among the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center, recently sent out a warning to first responders after gathering intelligence that they may be the targets of cyber-attacks. The alert read in part that, “We assess with moderate confidence that cyber actors, including those who support violent extremism, are likely to continue targeting first responders on the World Wide Web including by distributing personally identifiable information for the purpose of soliciting attacks from willing sympathizers in the homeland, hacking government websites, or attacking 911 phone systems to hinder first responders’ ability to respond to crises.”

To defend against today’s complex and rapidly changing security threats, FirstNet is being built with layers of security at every vulnerable point. Security will be designed into all radio access networks (RAN), the evolved packet core (EPC) network, service platforms, as well as the devices that use the network. Firewalls will enforce stringent security policies developed in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) to meet National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requirements. The FirstNet design will be guided by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) standards for encryption as well as other standards-based security measures and best practices.

A make shift work table with the tools of a carpenter, and a tablet

FirstNet also plans to work closely with across federal agencies with expertise in telecommunications security design modeling. FirstNet also will enable robust identity management and authentication practices at the local level. Proper credentialing will be essential to enabling the network to carry protected confidential and private information.

The bulletin to law enforcement from the Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team also recommended steps to better protect personal accounts held by public safety personnel:

  • Remove address, date of birth, phone number, email address and other identifying information from social media profiles and be wary of posting photos online or being tagged on social media by family and friends.
  • Use two-factor authentication, keep devices and software updated, and follow strict password security protocols.

Learn more at or call 571-665-6100.
Want to get involved?  Contact Jeffrey King, Area Lead/Law Enforcement Advisor, can be reached at or call 202-430-1486

When you respond to a call, information is an invaluable tool. From running a license plate to identifying where other officers are located, knowing as much as you can before you go in will improve safety and outcomes. But congestion on commercial wireless networks during a large event or emergency or a remote response location can limit your access to a data network  and the vital information you need. That’s where FirstNet can help.

Wether responding to a multi-agency incident or simply sharing data between officers in your own department, FirstNet will provide law enforcement and other public safety disciplines priority network access and improved cover age. Additionally, the FirstNet network can better enable you to:

  • Use new audio reporting tools in the field that will help you be more efficient

  • ƒAccess photos and real-time audio/video feeds

  • ƒImprove your situational awareness with mapping and asset tracking tools

Through a robust consultation effort with states, territories, tribes, public safety associations, first responders, and its Public Safety Advisory Committee, FirstNet has turned to law enforcement as a guiding force in network planning to help ensure the network meets your needs.

The launch of the network will provide mission critical, high speed data services and non-mission-critical voice to augment the capabilities of today’s Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems.

Volunteer law enforcement officers are an integral part of today’s police operations. FirstNet plans to develop and implement policies and plans for individuals who want to transition to the FirstNet network.

Mission critical applications
  • ƒCAD
  • ƒGIS
  • ƒWeather/traffic
  • ƒVideo sharing
  • ƒSite logging
  • ƒEmergency guides
  • ƒEquipment calculators
  • ƒSecure browser
Administrative applications
  • Email/text/calendar
  • Office tools (PDF, Word)
  • ƒRecords management
  • ƒReporting
  • ƒDatabase access
  • ƒMedical references
Secure connectivity
  • ƒStrong user authentication
  • ƒApplication VPN
  • ƒSecure mobile gateway
Device management
  • Device authentication
  • MDM policy controls
  • ƒContainerization and encryption
  • ƒDevice lock and data swipe

“For law enforcement and other first responders, the FirstNet network offers the rare potential to not only make us safer and more effective, but to make innovative technologies more accessible and affordable to agencies from our population-dense cities to our most rural counties.”

Sheriff Mike Adkinson, Sheriff, Montgomery County, Maryland

Sheriff Mike Adkinson
Montgomery County, Maryland

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“We need the ability to talk to and share information with our fellow responders under all circumstances. And we can’t afford to wait for a signal to open up: when duty calls, we need to talk. More help is on the way on that front, thanks to FirstNet.”

Sheriff Richard W. Stanek, Sheriff, Hennepin County, Minnesota, FirstNet Board Member

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Montgomery County, Sheriff, Maryland

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