A perpetual dilemma in public safety is the inability to communicate across agency and jurisdictional lines — a massive hurdle that Arkansas Chief Technology Officer Claire Bailey has overcome since her appointment in 2006. The 700/800 MHz Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN), which became fully operational in 2006, eliminated stovepipes that existed among public safety agencies and jurisdictions, and continues to expand.
“We’ve worked really hard to improve our processes both internally and externally,” Bailey said, noting a high demand for people wanting to join the network. “We’re expanding it to be truly that interoperable, seamless communications environment. It’s been extremely positive because of the relationships we’ve built across the jurisdiction — not only in state, but also city, county, local, federal and neighboring states.”
Though a top priority for Bailey, AWIN isn’t her only concern — she also co-chairs the National Association of State Chief Information Officers social media committee, which saw its first success in January: After a year of working with Facebook, the committee announced that it had come to an agreement with the social media giant that will allow for broader, more appropriate use of the site by state governments nationwide. “It was a learning curve,” she said, “because when these tools come out — when you see the social impact and then you see governments start to adopt this way of communicating to a very broad constituent base — we really have to think about what those terms of service are and that impact from a legal perspective.”
Her next endeavors? Data analytics for health IT and education, to name a couple. By gathering and analyzing data trends, Bailey says government can assess how to improve the delivery of services. “Let’s make sure we’re preparing our students for the jobs of the future — turn that into curriculum development,” she said. “Look at the programs offered at different colleges and universities, seize all the information available to us, and use data analytics to make good decisions on where we need to take our state programs next.”
Jessica Mulholland served as the Web editor of Government Technology magazine from October 2012 through September 2017. She worked for the Government Technology editorial team for nearly 10 years.