The Responder August 2015

Message from the TIM Network Liaison

Since I travel extensively nationally and internationally to further the concept of Transportation Operations, I have the fortunate opportunity to meet dedicated and professional proponents of developing and implementing fresh new ideas and utilization of known strategies to address motorist and responder safety.  However, budgets are getting tougher and a renewed focus on repairing our infrastructure to include roads and bridges is at the forefront of DOT’s around the country.  This focus and funneling of limited resources is justified and necessary to ensure that the roadway system we have in the US is second to none, including Europe and Asia.

So how do we, those that profess to be Traffic Incident and Transportation Operations professionals keep our part of the pie on the table?  Is it better monitored performance measures? A new or expanded service patrol?, More ITS device deployments?  That new 24/7 app that shows every camera in the state or by engaging as many of the people and agencies that deal with planned and unplanned events on our roads?  You have to answer those questions, but how do you know what is working or not working?  Statistics and number crunching are good to get a snapshot of your program, but it is not enough.

My team and I deal with and document best practices to share with others.  Much has been said about planning, but where do we begin this initiative of planning for Transportation Operations and TIM?  What does sustainability look like for your TIM program?  I have said it before, we must get away from the agency champion model and integrate TIM and Operations into the fabric of our day to day programs. People come and go, but the program remains.  Have you taken a good, honest and hard look at where your agency’s program was, where it is today and where the program will be in the next 1-3 years?  Are the right people in the right seats? Is it time to develop a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) assessment of your program?  Is it time to develop and implement a Strategic Management Plan (SMP) for your program?  I would venture to guess that less than 5% of the formal TIM programs in the US have ever done this self-analysis once, let alone on a regular basis to determine the effectiveness of the strategies deployed or the success at improving or meeting either ad hoc or fully integrated performance measures.

I understand that these assessments are not done in a vacuum, it will require your agency to engage other stakeholder agencies, people and experts to get you there, but it is worth the time, effort and yes money to develop and have ready when someone looks at the operations budget and decides, “yea, they don’t need that anymore, we can cut that”!  Sound familiar? Now you will have a formal and well thought out plan to continue justifying the expansion of the transportation operations program and the ideals we hold close.  Saving Lives and reducing injuries on our roads!  Let me know your thoughts!


Eric Rensel, TIM Network Liaison, Gannett Fleming, Inc.

View from the Street

By Eric Reddeck, NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate

Good news  in Traffic Incident Management,  Metro Atlanta TIME  Taskforce Conference  PPP presentations  went online  and  Seattle has developed a City TIM plan which  include many national best practices and  include   Observations and Recommendations.

Metro Atlanta TIME  Taskforce Conference  PPP presentations

Seattle to enhance Traffic Incident Management

 Traffic Incident Management in Seattle: Observations and Recommendations July 31 , 2015


2015 Killed in the Line of Duty

Police Officers 76
Firefighters       56
EMS 05              
Towers  19        


Eric Reddeck
NFFF Everyone Goes Home Advocate


Law Enforcement Checklist helps Amber Alert Preparedness

Jim McGee

It is a grim fact that many abducted children are killed in the hour immediately following their abduction and that child abductions can happen randomly in any community at any time. Child abductions often occur in medium or small jurisdictions without specialized law enforcement child abduction units and the training that specialized officers have access to.

An entire generation has passed through the workplace in the nineteen years since Amber Hageman’s fatal abduction and when the original Amber Alert was issued in Texas in 1996; and it has been 12 years since the 2003 Protect Act spurred the creation of Amber Alert programs in the states that didn’t have programs by then.

Amber Alerts are infrequent enough that retirements, promotions and lateral moves can leave the ranks bare of experienced officers and institutional memory even in medium and large departments when one suddenly appears with the urgency that child abduction emergencies demand.

Amber Alert capabilities can be sharpened using training, drills and exercises that include “plain English” communications and uncomplicated, clear Standard Operating Procedures with defined roles and responsibilities that are readily available.

Every local law enforcement agency should have a child abduction emergency plan that addresses the Amber Alert criteria and the steps involved with enlisting the assistance the state’s Amber Alert partnership through the child abduction specialists with designated, state-level police agency.

It is a grim fact that many abducted children are killed in the hour immediately following their abduction. When a child abduction is suspected and the assistance of the public can help safely recover the child, the Amber Alert verification process has to begin without delay.  A delayed child abduction alert can be the difference between life and death for a child-victim.  History has shown that most child abductions often involve more than one state and that a perpetrator can be hundreds of miles away within a few hours.

The Amber Alert “system” is actually a loosely structured partnership among the states’ attorney general, law enforcement, highway departments, state lotteries, broadcasters, the National Weather Service, outdoor advertisers, the wireless industry, state emergency managers, state Emergency Alert Systems and the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children.

Behind the scenes, the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children funnels the alert to pre-approved wireless providers; and the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System integrates local systems using the Common Alerting Protocol standards with the IPAWS infrastructure. IPAWS provides public safety officials with an effective way to communicate Amber Alerts using the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio, and other public alerting systems from a single interface.

The law enforcement Amber Alert Checklist has been adapted from one used in some states and cant can be used for discussion in the training room or over coffee to check your agency’s ability to understand the criteria and how to proceed in the Amber Alert verification process without hesitation; activate the state police Amber Alert fax number and confirm the fax was received. A no cost tabletop exercise also works well.

The impact and effectiveness of Amber Alerts is indisputable. Few real-time events match the intense media interest generated by an Amber Alert and law enforcement agencies’ preparedness planning should include a review of the sample Amber Alert Checklist.

Law Enforcement Amber Alert Checklist

  1. Is this case a runaway child or custody situation?
  2. Is the victim 17 or younger?
  3. Do you believe that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death?
  • If “yes” to #1, 2 &3 (above), activate the state police Amber Alert fax number.
  • Confirm the fax was received by dispatch by calling.

Is there sufficient information to which the public can respond?

  • When/Where child was abducted
  • Child’s name and age
  • Description of child/recent photo
  • Description of abductor
  • Description of vehicle
  • Last known direction of travel
  • Does the suspect have a relationship with the victim?
  • Local contact number for questions and additional information
  1. Could the assistance of the public, including other law enforcement agencies, businesses and the media assist in location the individual who does not qualify for the Amber Alert?

If so, contact the local media.


The author lives in Nebraska and serves on his State’s Amber Alert Committee.  He can be reached at 402-660-6842 or


For Additional Reading…

Time for us to drop the “A” word! It’s crashes, not accidents


NASEMSO Washington Update List


TIM Network/FHWA Knowledge Management System (KMS) 

The TIM Network coupled with the Federal Highway Administration has launched a new TIM Knowledge Management System. We encourage all TIM Network members to submit articles, resources, and any other general TIM information that could help practitioners across the nation. As seen below, these featured articles will be included in The Responder. Don’t be afraid to submit!




Be sure to register for The Emergency Response Symposium!

ITS New York and the Transportation Safety Advancement Group (TSAG) will be hosting The Emergency Response Symposium on September 28 – 29, 2015 in Buffalo, NY.  We’ll connect regional responders with state and national leaders in transportation to identify ITS technologies and practices to improve the safety of travelers and public safety responders.


This event will feature a TIM training from New York DOT, keynotes from regional and national leaders in emergency response and policy, and panels on Connectivity, Device Distraction, Planning and Operations and Cross-Border Coordination.


All responders and ITS New York members receive free registration, while a nominal $35 registration fee is asked of all other attendees. Registration includes, lunch and a hosted reception.


More information, including a detailed agenda and per diem hotel rooms, can be found at


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