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Seconds to respond – too long to sign on?

March 10, 2022

It’s the beginning of a tour of duty for an officer in a typical police department.

The officer leaves the roll call briefing and checks out her equipment for the day—a radio, body-worn camera, taser, and smartphone. She proceeds to her vehicle and conducts a quick safety inspection of the exterior. As she sits down, the dispatcher announces that there are several assignments demanding immediate attention on her beat.

Unfortunately, she cannot begin her tour yet. She still has to sign on to several mobile applications on her smartphone and in-car computer before she can hit the street.

In fact, there are nine different platforms—each requiring its own username and password, each with its own separate authentication process. Some of these apps require multi-factor authentication and expired password resets, causing further delays. Before she can begin responding to calls, she must log on to the mobile computer-aided dispatch application, followed by the body-worn camera platform, the in-car camera system, the records management system, the department’s email platform, a time and attendance application, a gunshot alerting system, a crime mapping application, and a program allowing her to view crime surveillance cameras. Finally, after almost ten minutes—with a few additional delays caused by forgotten passwords and multiple log-on attempts—she’s ready to start work.

This problem is faced not just by law enforcement officers, but all responders. The First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) video on single sign-on shows this challenge in action. Watch how the time passes as an officer sets up for the day.

ICAM solutions for public safety

Public safety needs a solution that allows for a single, secure authentication process across every application needed. Logging on once should make multiple mobile applications immediately available for first responder use, allowing life-saving work to begin sooner.

One solution is FirstNet Single Sign-On, which allows first responders to access participating mobile applications through a single app. It would allow our officer to log on once to a secure, multi-factor, standards-based authentication platform—one username, one password, in one place, one time. Multiple applications would be simultaneously logged on and available for use, enabling her to begin her tour of duty equipped with the tools she needs.

The FirstNet Authority is exploring how Identity, Credential, and Access Management affects public safety daily and what other solutions can help solve real-world problems. To learn more about how single sign-on can help your agency or to share your experiences, visit or email    


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