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Waiting for a "Clear" Signal: Technical Considerations for Effective Policy to Implement Chemical and Biological Detectors for First Responders and Law Enforcement

Award Information

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2004, $283,589)

The intent of the proposed work is a comprehensive, technical evaluation of policy behind CBW detector use for first responders and law enforcement - practical and technological limitations that need to be addressed for integrating gadgets. This will include review and assessment of currently employed instruments and emerging sensing technologies under near-term consideration for field deployment. Particular emphasis will be placed on analysis of practical implications - technology needs and current deficiencies. Another portion of the proposed work is to consider the challenges for civil use of detector technologies, such as testing, validation and standardization. Also investigated will be the differing technology needs, which manifest in funding and purchase choices, e.g., broad-spectrum versus single agent, response time, portability, continuous versus intermittent monitoring, non-intrusive monitoring, power consumption and cost. The third component of the proposed work will consider practical implementation and process issues for first-responders and law enforcement via collection and analysis of case studies. These considerations include evidence documentation and interagency ability to communicate and compare results. Finally, recommendations for practical, cost-effective and efficient civil implementation of chemical and biological detectors will be formulated.

The proposed research would offer a comprehensive survey of the technology available with specific emphasis on criterion relevant to the National Institute of Justice's core objectives. This work will enable the development of a framework for CBW detector use among first responders, in which both technical and practical field considerations will be weighed. An endeavor will be made to reconcile the technical limitations with the practical and desired needs of first responders. The overall goal is to move from "detect and treat" to "detect and warn". And the objective of the proposed research is to assess current and emerging technology for CBW detectors and to review the policy considerations regarding investments in new research and in practical applications. The work will explore the potential policy considerations that encourage use, development and awareness of detectors most beneficial to the goals of the National Institute of Justice's critical incident technology and protective systems technology programs.

Date Created: September 29, 2004